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An excerpt from the 2019 workshop production of "A Lesson In Swimming"


Conversations with the creators of A LESSON IN SWIMMING and viewing access to the 2019 Workshop Production!

Wednesdays, August 12, 19, and 26 | 5:30 PM PDT

Free with Registration 

Each year, roughly 800,000 Americans experience a stroke. In 2015, actor, director, and longtime Moving Arts’ company member Michael Shutt survived three.​ 


Michael then spent almost three years writing scores of short stories about his experience before teaming up with director and dramaturg Diana Wyenn to take his powerful and unexpectedly hilarious story to the stage. In 2020, they were scheduled to open the world premiere of A Lesson In Swimming at Bootleg Theater in Los Angeles when the coronavirus pandemic hit. It soon became clear that their plans had to get pushed…or they could adapt.

For three consecutive Wednesdays this August, Michael and Diana will log online from their homes to share with you insights and stories from the creation process. They will focus first on the writing process (August 12); followed by the workshop and staging process (August 19), and finish by taking your questions (August 26) once you’ve seen the archived video of the 2019 workshop production—which will be available on-demand for free from August 19–26!



Accessibility: The Wednesday evening conversations will be live-streamed with ASL interpretation and archived on and with closed captioning. The video of the 2019 workshop production will be provided with closed captioning.

Photos by Mae Koo



written and performed by Michael Shutt

direction and dramaturgy by Diana Wyenn

Every Stroke is Different.

In 2015, more than 750,000 Americans experienced strokes. This is one survivor's story. Hilarious and poignant, A Lesson In Swimming takes you inside writer/performer Michael Shutt's brain as it “breaks” and invites you to experience how deep the cracks really go. Left partially blind, partially paralyzed, and partial to chocolate pudding, Michael sets out on a quest to put the pieces of his broken brain back together and ultimately discovers that what he perceived to be broken might actually have been cracked open.


Creative Team

Michael Shutt, writer & performer

Diana Wyenn, director & dramaturg
Avery Reagan, lighting designer
John Zalewski, sound designer
Rachel Werbel, assistant director
Michael Friedlander, stage manager
Cece Tio, producer

Moving Arts, producer

Production History

May 2020 (delayed due to pandemic)

World premiere presented by Moving Arts and Bootleg Theatre 

August 26–September 5, 2019

Workshop production presented by Moving Arts at Atwater Village Theater 

May 4, 2019

Staged reading presented by Moving Arts at Harmony Toluca Lake

Audience Responses to the 2019 Workshop

"Michael Shutt has painted a beautiful picture of what it’s like to suffer and survive a stroke. He’s done an amazing service for OUR community." —Stroke Survivor 


"Captures the magic of storytelling in the midst of trauma and the resiliency of the human spirit." 

"Every nurse should see this show!" —ICU Nurse

"As a caregiver to a stroke survivor, I could relate to the caregiver characters. I could see my story in them." 


"You’ll laugh, you’ll be moved, and you’ll learn so much about how to be brave." 

"A LESSON IN SWIMMING brings to life in stark detail the insanity and inhumanity of our health care system and shows that courage is sometimes a minute-by-minute feat."

"A brave and heroic piece of work ... Michael Shutt is willing to lead us on a tour of his deepest fears and somehow is able to be completely entertaining and very, very, very funny!" 

"Michael [reaches] people in a way they’ve not been reached before. You can and will walk out of A LESSON IN SWIMMING a different person." 

"Sharp writing, expert delivery, and vivid storytelling."​

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