Michael Chekhov Technique

Michael Chekhov is a Russian actor and director that developed an acting technique where working with impulse and imagination is vital to experiencing the truth of the moment. In order to master this approach, actors use imagination, feelings and atmosphere. Like many acting pioneers, Michael Chekhov developed his acting technique with inspiration from Konstantin Stanislavski. Chekhov was a student of Stanislavski at the Moscow Art Theatre where he learned Stanislavski’s system before branching off on his own.

List of Michael Chekhov’s Five Guiding Principles

  1. The actor must train his or her body through the use of psychological exercises.
  2. The actor must use intangible means of expression while acting and rehearsing to achieve tangible results.
  3. The actor must employ a creative spirit and the higher intellect to unify the various aspects of the performance.
  4. The purpose of the Chekhov method is to embody each component of the method as a means of awakening all parts of the method in order to evoke a creative state of mind.
  5. The actor must penetrate each separate point of the Chekhov Technique and then determine to what degree and by what means it frees his or her talent.

Creative Individuality

The Chekhov technique calls for actors to use their imagination to create believable characters and creative individuality.


After exploring the imagination along with creative individuality, the Chekhov technique calls for actors to connect their mind with their body, creating a total body experience. Once this happens, the actor radiates in their character and the acting becomes easier.

Psychological Gesture

In one of Chekhov’s exercises, known as psychological gesture, the actor physicalizes an internal need or desire into a gesture. By repeating or using this gesture, the actor can then re-internalize the emotions generated from the physical movement and use it in their acting.