As a child Michael Williams-Stark thought to himself, "Let’s see, I’m facially disfigured and vocally distorted. How can I make life more miserable for myself? I know! I’ll become an actor and specialize in voice characterizations!" And so…he did.
Despite being at the time of his birth, the worst cleft lip and palate case in his home province of British Columbia, Michael has gone on to be an award winning musician and improvisational comedian. He is an ACTRA member and has provided voices for a number of animated series including The Super Mario Bros., Beetlejuice, Rupert Bear, six of the characters on the hit kid’s show Noddy and many others.
Michael combined his experiences as a child of facial difference and as an actor/musician to create the making faces program. He is proof positive that if you dare to follow your dreams they can be realized. He’s a true inspiration to his classes. It’s his hope and goal to obtain funding to teach these classes on a regular basis to a greater number of children.
Michael Williams-Stark used his experience of growing up with a facial difference and then becoming an award winning actor and musician to create a series of improv classes, specifically designed for children with facial differences. These workshops were extensively tested at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, with great success. Michael has also provided workshops at the Children’s Rehabilitation Centre in Windsor and at AboutFace.
A number of years ago, Michael Williams-Stark and his brilliant pal Abby Thomas saw a television program on AboutFace, an organization that helps people with facial differences. Through Abby’s encouragement he decided to see what he could do to help kids dealing with the same challenges and struggles that he went through as a kid.
Michael made himself available to help out at special events and participated in support meetings and talks. But he really found his place when he facilitated a workshop on humour at AboutFace’s first Family Day in Toronto.
Since then, Michael’s workshops have become a regular and popular item. The original one-day program evolved into an eight-week workshop series called making faces.
making faces ran for four years at the Hospital for Sick Children’s Bear theatre as well as at the Children’s Rehabilitation Centre of Essex County. Ultimately, Michael hopes to offer the program to every AboutFace chapter in North America.