BIOGRAPHY OF MICHELE GEORGE
Michele was raised just outside New York City, trained at university in New York City and also at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London. Back in New York she became a family member of La Mama Theater, where the opportunity to create the characters of the early plays of Sam Shepard, Lanford Wilson and John Guare, to mention a few of the world’s leading playwrights, were the daily life she led. Always a singer, this included gigs at Carnegie Hall and Madison Square Garden.
She proceeded to fully participate in ‘The 60’s’, and was resident on Haight St. for the Summer of Love in San Francisco. She was an actor and singer through this time, managing a year in the Caribbean singing for her supper at “Trader Dan’s”.
She always made her way back to New York and La Mama Theater. When she came ‘home’ after San Francisco began a downward turn, she performed the lead at la Mama in “Arden of Faversham” directed by Andrei Serban.
Noted director Peter Brook saw this very successful production, and both Michele and Andrei were invited to join Peter’s newly forming International Center for Theatre Creation. She spent a decade engaged in this extraordinary work. The company travelled extensively, which is where Michele absorbed the multi-culturalism which is a keynote of her work, both theatrically and musically.
Peter Brook has always had an abiding interest in the human voice, which brought Michele to a depth in her own work with the voice and it endless mysteries. She remains eternally grateful for the learning and the experience she absorbed during these remarkable years.
It is also an understanding of text, and the use of the body to allow language to inhabit and clarify itself that has opened the door to much of the work which followed.
As well, Michele has been directed by Joseph Chaikin, legendary founder of The Open Theater, and she has worked with many of the leading theatre makers of our time. She has done film work with Louis Malle, spent a season at the Paris Opera where she was the Actor/Singer with renowned choreographer/dancer Carolyn Carlson’s dance company, where the opportunity to use the body in specific ways was brought to bear in experimental ways under Chagall’s magical rooftop. After ten years with Brook, Michele married and left the company. She came to Canada, which has become her beloved home, to beget and raise two sons.
Upon arrival in Toronto, she was offered the position of co-director, with David Smukler, of the then brand-new Masters Program in Theatre at York University. After four years, she felt the need to be working in professional theatre again, and she began directing and acting, mainly in Toronto.
She took a kind of leave to raise her two children, never stopping her connection to theatre, but adapting her schedule to the more daily one of Re:Sound, vocal therapy, which she developed under the mentorship of Marion Woodman, revered Jungian psychoanalyst. She continues this practice ‘til this day, traveling and working with individuals and giving seminars.
During the 21st century, Michele had numerous health challenges. She has worked to her capability, but there has been a hiatus that it is now time to close and to re-enter the world of theatre and music with full energy and spirit and her considerable imagination. She has managed to do a good deal of work in Wales and Ireland and London, as well as in Paris during these years, with a focus on voice and music and its presence in theatre.
She remains a person of the theatre, and is full of hope and spirit as she stepped forward with a one-woman show which was researched and given productions in northern and southern California, called “On the Edge of the Brook”.
She was in Berkeley due to a grave family crisis, which led her to spend several months discovering that her one-woman show was re-routing itself due to her circumstances. Her research has taken her into the world of what she is calling “mental health concerns”…as opposed to “illnesses” or “diseases”.
She is committed to work to reduce the stigma attached to all that comes under these headings.
This is to be a play for all audiences, and will also be made available to conferences which are looking to de-stigmatize the shame, blame and suffering that so many experience around mental health issues.
She is writing songs which express the nature of this time in her life, and will record in the next year.
In olden days, people who were, shall we say, “different”, were respected, and often honored for their differences.
Michele believes it is time to re-awaken this respect for the uniqueness of each of us, and a means to learn from each other so that we may follow the evolution that is our shared journey as a human species.