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Michael Hill-Kirkland, Ph.D.
Professor, Performing Arts & Music, Supervisor for MFA in Acting Program757.352.4730

Michael Hill-Kirkland, Ph.D.


Dr. Michael Kirkland currently serves as faculty representative supervising Regent’s MFA in Acting program in the Department of Performing Arts & Music. He has a Ph.D. in the History, Theory, Criticism and Literature of the Theatre from the University of Utah, an MFA in Acting and Directing from the University of Southern Mississippi, and a B.A. in Theater with an emphasis in Acting from California State University, Fullerton. While at the University of Utah he studied under and was mentored by Tyrone Guthrie protégé, Dr. David Jones. He also did post-graduate training in directing at the University of Michigan with Walter Eysselinck and Richard Burgwin, and served as resident stage manager for Michigan Ensemble Theatre.

Practical specializations include acting, directing and stage combat. A passionate advocate of the Sanford Meisner Approach to acting, he teaches this technique in Regent’s MFA Acting program. A certified teacher and fight director with the Society of American Fight Directors (SAFD) since 1992, he has designed stage fights and instructed all over the U.S. and guest-taught at such prestigious UK conservatories as RADA, the Birmingham School of Acting, and MGA Academy, in Edinburgh. He is on-site coordinator for the Virginia Beach BASH, an SAFD-sanctioned stage and screen combat workshop in residence at Regent University. He is author of Stage Combat: An Annotated Bibliography, numerous articles in The Fight Master: Journal of the Society of American Fight Directors, and other theatre journals.

A member of Actors Equity Association since1978, he originated the roles of deputy Bobby Tate in Sagebrush (Cast Theatre, Hollywood) and Jake in Idioglossia (Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts) later adapted into the motion picture Nell, starring Jodie Foster. He has acted with such luminaries as Jennifer Jason Leigh, Sam Elliott, and Jason Patric.

The summer of 2016 saw him directing the UK premiere of Jayson Akridge’s psychological police thriller, The Confessional, at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and playing the lead role of Detective William Bryce. Directing credits include: The Producers (Monterey Peninsula Theatre Company); Private Lives, The 39 Steps, The Cottage and Man of La Mancha (Americana Theatre Company); Flashdance (MGA Academy, Edinburgh); The Servant of Two Masters (Edinburgh Festival Fringe); and Puffs: Or Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic (Zeiders American Dream Theater).

For Tidewater Stage, Regent University’s professional theatre in residence, he has appeared as Victor Velasco in Barefoot in the Park, Ticky Waldgrave in The Nerd, and directed Driving Miss Daisy and The 39 Steps. Regent University directing credits include Hamlet, Steel Magnolias, Guys and Dolls, Noises Off, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Arms and the Man, Singin’ in the Rain, The Elephant Man, Blithe Spirit, The Three Musketeers, Shadowlands, Macbeth 2114, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Dracula, The Servant of Two Masters, Romeo and Juliet, and Brigadoon.

Michael lives in Chesapeake, Virginia with his wife, actress/costume designer CJ Hill, and their two precocious little dogs, Toby and Gemma.


B.A. California State University, Fullerton, 1979; MFA University of Southern Mississippi, 1983; Ph.D. University of Utah, 1995


Stage Combat Resource Materials: A Selected and Annotated Bibliography, Praeger, 2006

"The Search for Style in TROY," The Fight Master: Journal of the Society of American Fight Directors, 2005

"An Interview with Actor Michael York," The Fight Master: Journal of the Society of American Fight Directors, Vol. 26, No. 2, 2004