Hey, you -- want a retreat that will challenge you artistically, physically and professionally?

Slow down, do less, be more

Acting & Surfing
Retreat Ireland

For actors who wish to bring their acting to the next level in a co-creative trusting environment so that you expand into your greater potential. 

Yes, I need this!


  • How would your acting evolve if you were more present? 

  •  How would your practice evolve if you were more inspired? 

  •  How would your relationship with the other actor evolve if you were more receptive? 

  •  How would your relationships on set evolve if you were more resilient? 

  •  How would your presence evolve if you were more empowered?

What if you could navigate any circumstance creatively and with deeply empowered presence?


5-day immersive retreat experience taught by two of the world's leading acting coaches, Helena Walsh and Benjamin Mathes. 

Your acting adventure awaits
October 12th to 19th 2024

Clonakilty, Ireland

Apply to join

Here's what to expect:

This unique opportunity brings actors together to grow, evolve, challenge and transform! 
This workshop will focus on moving through the spiral of intensity to complexity to simplicity.

  • The Art of Presence
    Daily, there will be work integrating life and art through our six senses, through our “organic intelligence” from our biology to our environment to the group of actors present, to what matters to us individually and collectively about the world we live in. Discovering your alignment with these forces will anchor your work as an artist, actor in a potent, personal and collective creative intelligence. This will invite you to become open to receive the potential for growth & transformation that is already there for you to work & play with in your life & art.
  • Nervous System Regulation & Integration Work 
    The work is inspired by Fitzmaurice Voicework®, Organic Intelligence® and Neurosystemics™ and works from the principles of stability, support, pleasure and play. It is a journey into alignment of imagination body and breath, working with the fight / flight / freeze mechanisms that ignite in the actor’s nervous system when working with creative impulse. We will explore the subtle nuances in our rich vulnerability so that the experience of your character is more embodied and alive.
  • Scene & Character Work
    It is a fusion of the relationship of the physiology and biology with the imaginative circumstances of the story.  The scene work is about being in and experiencing the story, building a belief in story through specific tools given by Helena and Ben to give you an ever evolving deepening of your craft. Encouraging an enjoyable risky leap into the unknown, excited by the danger of trusting something bigger than you to move through you. Stepping into your own potency and in so doing a vibrant empowering expression of the moment.
  • How Ben works with you:
    Through exercise, scene work, and discussion, actors will explore The Path™, a revolutionary 4 point process designed to bring more depth, ease, and joy to your acting and auditions.

    Students will work closely with Benjamin and Helena in this intimate-group setting of limited participants, receiving focused and personalised feedback. 
  • This workshop is powerful, you're together in a room, it's for a concentrated time. It's an enjoyable, playful, transformative, powerful few days. If this sounds like something that you would really enjoy, then come join us.

    Places limited!  Don't miss out on your chance to work with two of the most internationally sought after acting coaches Helena Walsh and Benjamin Mathes PLUS oh yea, surfing! 


You're going to




Each day you get to surf the mystical magical waves of Inchydoney Beach, West Cork under the careful guidance of highly experienced instructors.


This trip provides a unique experience of being on the water from dusk into darkness. The  bioluminescent waters and the panoply of stars overhead are truly a magical feat.

Live Music
Pub session

After a day of surf, acting workshops, local hike / walk watching the sun set along the stunning cliff walk at Warren Point, it's time for some quality live music, sing songs and dancing together in Ben's favourite Irish Pub, Shanley's Bar.


Join The Acting & Surfing Retreat!
Apply now to join ➡

And just who will also be teaching you The Acting & Surfing Retreat?

Me! I'm Helena Walsh

Voice & Acting Coach | Human Empowerment & Resiliency Organic Intelligence® Consultant.

For over 25 years, I have been transforming personal and collective lives, as a voice, acting coach and empowerment coach in the international arts world. I studied voice through the International Roy Harte Centre in the south of France and trained in Fitzmaurice Voicework® at Central in London. I was appointed to the role of European director of the Fitzmaurice Institute and was the co-director of the Freedom and Focus Fitzmaurice Voicework® Conference in 2016 and 2018 in Dublin and London respectively.  

Over the years, I became more and more interested in trauma, PTSD and anxiety, which were coming up a lot during workshops with my clients. After burning out in 2017, I discovered Organic Intelligence®, and since then I have been training and working as a human empowerment and resiliency consultant. 

My work in Organic Intelligence® complimented the work I had embodied through Fitzmaurice Voicework®, Roy Hart and my mentor Andrea Ainsworth. I became more curious about how we could create a more organic and holistic approach to the actor's process. So, with my friend and colleague Benjamin Mathes of Crash Acting LA, we co-created a ten-week advanced acting process. This was inspired by the week-long retreats we regularly host in Clonakilty, West Cork, where actors from LA, Ireland and Europe come together for an intensive week of acting and surfing. "The Actor's Practice" is a compassionate and deeply transformative practice which moves both the actors process to a whole new level and changes their lives for the better. This leaves the actor confident, unshakable and inspired to feel more pleasure and curiosity in their life and art. 

And who else will also be teaching you The Acting & Surfing Retreat?

Me! I'm Benjamin Mathes

Acting coach and teacher | author | Founder of Urban Confessional: A Free Listening Movement

I have been an actor for over 20 years. On film, television, and stage I have worked with artists such as Academy Award winning director Clint Eastwood, Academy Award winning actor Alan Arkin, Sam Raimi, Bradley Cooper, Andy Garcia, Chris Rock, and Academy Award winning producer Brian Grazer. I received my MFA in Acting from the University of California-Irvine.

My acting studio, CRASH, inspires a guerrilla approach to acting driven by the idea that service is the context for artistic greatness. My students have been nominated or awarded Tony, Emmy, Grammy, and Ovation Awards, and have appeared on Broadway, as guest stars and series regulars on television, and in major motion pictures. Further, my studio has helped raised thousands of dollars for charities worldwide.

“Most human I've ever felt. If you're ready to fully step inside yourself and rediscover what's been lost from the betrayals of pursuing a life of acting, this is the place. I found love, friendship and acceptance at this course and it brought back the simplicity of my passion and brought me back to the time when it was only about the joy of playing pretent without the judgement of getting it right. That to me is the art and you'll learn how to do that here. Get back to the joy and the rest is child's play. Literally“

Jonathan Chirrona

"I had an incredible time on the Actors Retreat. It was so much more than I ever could have imagined. The environment was so empowering and creative. There was such a supportive atmosphere that gave you confidence to be a little braver and go beyond where you'd been before. I definitely left there changed and more of the person I was created to be.” 

Miriam Babooram
Actress & voiceover artist

I have done other retreats and classes with Helena, though there was something truly special about the surfing retreat. Not only did I have Helena and Ben, but I had the ocean as my teacher as well. Navigating the waves was an incredibly effective way to make me reflect on how I also navigate my craft, and it was beautiful to have such a supportive community with me through that process. I’m finally finding my way back to myself and to the joy in acting, and this experience played a significant part in that.

Rachel Zapata

I attended the 2023 Greece retreat with Helena and words fall short when I try to describe what a sublime experience it was. There's absolutely no other studio in the world doing what Helena Walsh Empowerment is! Run, don't walk, to work with this incredible team ❤️.

Shivani Desai

There is nothing more beneficial than taking an actor out of their comfort zone in every way imaginably possible. That is what Helena and Ben did for me. They created a space and permission to just be a vessel, and dive in deep. I was challenged mentally, physically and spiritually; and to be in a small little Irish beach town while doing this was just wonderful. Throughout the retreat i found pieces of myself i thought where missing. I also found a whole new community of loving supporting amazing people. The retreat has changed me in so many ways through breath work to thinking about the industry and acting in a whole new way. learning to surf in freezing cold water to self exploring conversations, and scene work i found my love for being an artist again. I guess i just had to go all the way to Ireland to find it. So grateful for the retreat and my new Irish/la family. If your feeling like i was feeling go! You will be forever changed!

Julia Faye Fisher

The acting and surfing retreat was not only a week-long masterclass in acting but also an invigorating experience for the mind, body and soul with a group of beautiful people against the backdrop of a most charming town. What more could you ask for?

Conor O' Dwyer

A truly transformational experience. The environment was safe enough to allow me to feel vulnerable and challenged me to keep pushing through. It allowed me to fully experience the power of my body and connect to myself. I was able find a new breath in my body, my life, and in my work. I gained a new perspective of seeing beauty through the chaos feel more receptive to all that’s around. I would encourage anyone seeking artistic growth and connection to join this workshop. It’s a once and a lifetime opportunity.

Diedra Hart

Oh my goodness! Helena and Ben are an incredible team and they guided us to a deeper understanding of ourselves both in our work, and in the world. I was so inspired by the workshop and have continued to process everything we worked on as I pursue my acting career in LA. I feel a stronger connection to the world around me and I am grounded in the unshakable idea that I am enough. I’m so grateful for this workshop, the community we created and a beautiful experience I will remember forever.

Emilia Ray
Actress & Singer

One of the best experiences of my life. Helena Walsh and Benjamin Mathes are master coaches. The workshop consisted of a full week of body and breath connection, scene study, and great practical advise on how to approach the business side of the industry. I learned so much about my own body and breath, and how everything applies to my life and work. Having the opportunity to work with actors from Ireland was a dream come true! All of the actors were willing to take risks and be vulnerable, which created a safe space for everyone and allowed everyone to learn more about the craft and connect deeply with one another. By the end of the week, we were all a family. I highly recommend this workshop for anyone who is looking to deepen their connection with themselves, with others, and with their craft. This was an experience that will always be dear to my heart.“

Chiara McCarthy

“For me the acting retreat was transformative, truly something I will cherish for the rest of my life. A journey that reawakens/awakens things within you. Beautiful, transformative, effective and powerful! Will stay in the depths of my heart forever…. I can go on and on. Hard to find the right verbiage for the experience. It was damn magical!” 

Karina Gardea

The Acting and Surfing Retreat with Helena Walsh is a life-changing week of surfing, acting, EATING, and feeling like you are breathing for the first time. Maybe the greatest lesson I received was finding beauty in my everyday life even after leaving the idyllic town of Clonakilty. The experience is unparalleled.

Aidan Rees

This retreat broke walls down that I wasn’t even aware of. My eyes were opened to things within myself that needed to be uncovered, and in turn allowed me to be open to the people and the experiences that were right in front of me. Helena and Ben are life changers if you’re willing to be open to what they have to offer. It may be scary, but it’s something I will never regret.

Madisson Brown
Actress & Model

The Actor's Practice: Acting & Surfing Retreat

Register now!

  • This unique opportunity brings actors together from across the world to grow, breathe, and reflect with the guidance of instructors Benjamin Mathes and Helena Walsh. Set in one of Ireland’s most beautiful coastal towns, the retreat consists of a week of scene study, voice and body work, awareness and presence training, night kayaking in castle-surrounded, bioluminescent waters, and—oh yeah—SURFING! This retreat will challenge you artistically, physically, and professionally.

  • Inspired by Fitzmaurice Voicework, Organic Intelligence,Neurosystemic™ and traditional acting methodologies, the work is a journey into the alignment of the imagination, body, and breath. By exploring the subtle nuances in our rich vulnerability, your characters become more embodied and alive, and you will enjoy the present moment with greater insight and creativity.

  •  Each day begins with a journey to one of Ireland’s most beautiful beaches, Inchydoney Beach, where surfing instructors are waiting with boards, wetsuits, and a love of adventure. After an hour of surfing in the Irish Sea, Benjamin and Helena lead you back to your apartments to clean up and head into town for lunch. 

  • After lunch, the workshop begins. Held in a medieval-era, stoned-walled studio, the workshop consists of 5 hours of voice, body and character integration, acting, and scene study work with Helena and Benjamin. American actors will work with Irish and international actors as scene partners to encourage a rich cultural and artistic exchange.

Sign me up

Let's talk Clonakilty

The retreat experience
Daily Surf Lessons

Inchydoney Beach, Clonakilty, West Cork

On arrival at Inchydoney Surf School, your instructor will allocate a wetsuit (boots, hoods and gloves if needed) and surf board, then guide you down to the beach where you will be briefed on equipment, beach safety and the basic surfing techniques.

Next it’s into the surf to practice these skills under the safe guidance of your instructor.
Students are required to be present at the surf school 10 minutes before the lesson begins to allow time to get suited up and to have maximum time in the water. Lessons begin and finish at the surf school building. All equipment Surfboards and Wetsuits are provided, so all students need to bring is their swimwear, towel and sun screen.

An idyllic retreat location

Medieval-era, stoned-walled studio

A beautiful, bright, charming, cozy, magical, spacious, warm yoga studio with real wood floors, traditional stone walls, high ceilings, and skylights on the top.  The room itself is south facing on the 2nd floor, the penthouse, of an historic building.  It is located on Spillers Lane, a quiet pedestrianised area in the Anahata (heart) chakra of Clonakilty, Ireland.

 The Night Kayaking

Watch in wonder

This trip provides a unique experience of being on the water from dusk into darkness. There is always something to make you gasp on this trip, the sparkle of bioluminescence, the sounds of seabirds coming in to roost, the sunset, the rising moon, the aromas of honeysuckle and gorse on the breeze, the panoply of stars overhead, and the deep, dark peace and serenity of night. It is a trip which feeds body and soul.

Lough Hyne is a uniquely beautiful salt water lake, the only one of its kind in Europe, and Ireland’s first marine reserve since 1981.

The Accommodation at Clonakilty

Coffee is at the heart of everything

All participants will be staying together in self-catering houses at Clonakilty Park Hotel, Clonakilty Village. 

Price includes accommodation of TWIN ROOM with shared bathroom (shared between 2 or 3 people).

A 20m pool, sauna, jacuzzi & steam room is available to all residents. The extensive gym is also available.

Clonakilty is one of Ireland’s most culinarily diverse towns with numerous vegetarian, gluten-free, local and international lunch options. Plus, amazing coffee and award winning bakery is only around the corner!!!

I'm ready to join


Still Got Questions?


The embodied character is the most intimate expression of the human experience. 

To truly offer an authentic, moving human experience in your storytelling requires a nuanced, subtle, flexible and pleasurable connection to your voice. The voice is the most intimate expression of the self and can convey ten thousand intimacies through a freely expressive, present actor.