Walk Tall are dedicated to providing Theatre & Performing Arts opportunities for all. From young people looking to learn new skills to professional actors seeking to improve their craft. We believe arts participation can improve understanding of the world in which we live. Often increasing empathy and self-efficacy.
Walk Tall are at the forefront of an exciting and emerging theatre landscape that links arts, psychology, community and social impact to encourage social cohesion, resilience and wellbeing. Producing work that highlights the importance of arts within society to promote culture, inclusion, learning, kindness and values through high quality arts practice.
Our ambitious vision of what society can be comes from our extensive project work challenging communities to look at the way in which we interact with others and find collective benefits within communities. To give a voice to the often maligned and share the healthy pursuit of the artists journey (thinking, feeling, engaging and listening to behaviour and society).
We advocate arts as a vehicle for change, kindness and wellbeing.
Artistic Director & Course Director - Robbie Humphries
Robbie is passionate about acting and theatre. He believes theatre lifts the human spirit and elevates the mind. He is constantly seeking new ways in which modern actors can be trained to deal with the rigours of their developing craft.
He is also a trained psychologist and this sets him apart from other directors / practitioners. As a theatre maker he combines a dynamic creativity with a sophisticated understanding of the human heart. He knows the power of people, behaviour, society and storytelling. He captures and cherishes the voices of real people to enlighten his very specific brand of arresting theatre. As a teacher he has the ability to open doors for actors and give them a freedom to ‘play’ within an impulsive psychodynamic world.
Robbie studied acting at Guildhall School of Music and Drama, then obtained his psychology degree from Brunel University and trained in acting and directing extensively with Scott Williams and Mike Bernardin @ Impulse Theatre Company, Actors Space and CityLit London. He also studied clowning with ‘The Spy Monkeys’.
Robbie has been working in theatre, film and television for over 30 years. He started his training at a young age attending Sylvia Young’s Theatre School. After numerous appearances in adverts including being ‘The Milky Bar Kid’ for 5 years he worked with Simon Callow on BBC’s situation comedy ‘Chance in a Million’. He appeared alongside Jeremy Brett in the 1987 Sherlock Holmes film ‘The Sign of Four’. Other TV appearances include: ‘The Bill’ ITV, ‘When the Bell Rings’ BBC. Theatre credits include: Artful Dodger - Oliver Bill Kenwright, Caliban – The Tempest (Changeling), Dogberry – Much ado about Nothing (Changeling), Lazaro – Frankenstein in Love (El Lupo). Written & Directed by Robbie Humphries: Dr Schoble – Walk the Tightrope (Little Blue Door), Savant – The Bird Girl (Nu Theatre).
He has been the energetic Artistic Director at Walk Tall for 10 years. He was the visionary behind ‘award winning’ Walk Tall YTH Theatre Company, with his brave forthright theatre style and touching elegant writing. He is now running Walk Tall Theatre Company which is a powerhouse of creativity, new writing, devised work, actor training and influential theatre in education. Walk Tall Theatre Company also brings magic and wonderment to 100’s of theatre goers each year with our incredible Pantomimes @ The Mick Jagger Centre.
THEATRE IS about discovery, intuition and a core truth.
Under the artistic direction of Robbie Humphries Walk Tall has established a reputation for creating theatre that takes audiences on unpredictable journeys that inspire, excite and intrigue. Walk Tall looks to offer audiences new and surprising experiences, innovative in terms of subject matter and the theatrical forms adopted. We aim to engage people in the healthy pursuit of an artist’s journey and to reach the widest possible audience, encouraging experienced theatre goers and seeking to reach those for whom, for a variety of social and cultural reasons, theatre is alienating or forbidding as an art form.
In her Guardian blog Lyn Gardener wrote ‘the artists of tomorrow are not made through funding an elite but by funding at the bottom of the pyramid……..we need to work at the roots. If we don’t we will end up with the top of the pyramid and nothing beneath’. Walk Tall work tirelessly to bring this aim of grass roots theatre creation to fruition.
In September 2014 Oscar-winning star Judi Dench postulated in THE GUARDIAN her personal fears that working-class talents are being lost by the cost of drama school training and demise of repertory theatre. We address this head on with reasonably priced high quality training and opportunity for all as well as a modern working Theatre Company.
OUR SENSE OF PRIDE IN THE ACTORS WE PRODUCE: actors equipped to become artists in their own right.
Peter Brook - The Empty Space (1968) wrote ‘Time after time I have worked with actors who ... are tragically incapable, however hard they try, of laying down for one brief instant even in rehearsal the image of themselves that has hardened round an inner emptiness. At Walk Tall we concentrate on making actors who are capable of releasing themselves, opening up inner resources and finding the truth in imaginary circumstances.
Great plays can move, inspire and challenge audiences our productions are accessible, intelligent, beautifully designed, brilliantly acted and sensitively directed. This is at the heart of theatre policy.
OUR AUDIENCES TALK OF EXPERIENCES WHICH HAVE REMAINED WITH THEM- THAT IS OUR LEGACY, THAT WE HAVE LEFT A MEANINGFUL LINGERING TRACE IN PEOPLE’S MEMORIES.
IN THEATRE TRUTH IS ALWAYS ON THE MOVE – VISION MUST BE PERPETUALLY REMADE
‘Robbie is a truly wise man. A doctor of theatre who can reach into you and find inner emotions and vulnerability. If you are lucky enough to be taught by him listen – not just with your ears but your heart. A true master’.
WALK TALL THEATRE - ARTS POLICY 2016
PROMOTING CHANGE THROUGH PERFORMING ARTS.
The change we want to see: We believe that art is for everyone: All people have potential. Whether viewing, participating in or making art engages, excites and stretches people, encouraging new VOICES and unexpected connections and understanding. As an arts centre with growth and social development at its core we want to deliver and sustain a truly inclusive artistic and cultural space. A space with 'Storytelling' at it's heart. A place which welcomes and celebrates difference and enables people to engage with new ideas, develop new skills and try on new points of view.
WE WANT TO: PUT ON THEATRE THAT CHALLENGES AND EXCITES.
Develop working methodologies, create workshops which enhance artistry, work hard to sell tickets and promote productions, hire out spaces for new emerging artists, keep customers happy and provide eclectic cultural experiences so that they keep returning to nourish their soul and we keep money turning over to help produce more work which stimulates. Feed the cultural need in the community currently offered empty soulless theatre. Tour our special brand of theatre and grow our reputation for stimulating work. The building is shared with a cultural mix of people all of whom engage across services, cross pollinating views / ideas and contributions from artists, service users and practitioners of counselling and therapy, young and old from various backgrounds, refugees learning and finding a home. We believe the mix of people and activities within Walk Tall and the heart and values that underpin everything we do enable people to find their own ways to become better artists, more active members of community, more resilient, caring individuals stronger because they are part of an inclusive community. Our ambition is that everyone can enjoy the opportunities and creativity.
OUTCOME HOW WHY Increased Participation Through watching art, making art. Engaging with the process of developing new arts work. Through making the varied connections and interactions with other artists. By making art that resinates with people, theatre which has a voice that challenges 'point of view', attitude and beliefs. Helps to support positive feelings and positive lives. Experimenting and learning together with theatre forms and artists. Opportunities for all, including some for whom the engagement with cultural experiences is limited or non existent. Helping them focus their lives and broaden their horizons. Expanding Cultural Horizons Through exposure to new work. Through seeing a positivity and creative growth within the community. Something Happening! Something exciting and new! Through Walk Tall's commitment to forge creative partnerships and networks. Because we are acting as a catalyst for arts work happening within our community and beyond. Because our work addresses the human experience and shares diverse stories. Because exposure to interesting, high quality, vibrant, new, thought provoking performing arts work stimulates new ways of thinking. Work created using the input of marginalised people challenges social norms and stereotypes and therefore reduces stigma and challenges 'Point of View'. Seeing people from varied backgrounds as an 'artist' helps encourage and give hope to others that they too have a voice and can be artists. Accessibility to arts and arts people. Walk Tall are opening doors for other artistic opportunities. Everyone Has Increased Creative Ability / Confidence Through opportunities to:
- Experiment with, develop and show ideas.
- Collaborate with others.
- Test new works with audiences.
- Show work in our storytelling studio.
- Attract attention, 'paying audiences', 'critics', 'commentators', 'mentors'.
- Have a voice.
- Shared experiences in the storytelling studio.
Stimulating and supportive environment gives emerging artists vital opportunities to develop and share ideas. Developing a voice as an artist is powerful. People from disadvantaged backgrounds are denied the opportunity to have a voice let alone a voice as an artist. The grass roots engagement with artists allows all people to be supported as they aspire to make theatre and contributes to them feeling they belong. A diverse mix of people makes better more thought provoking, stimulating work. that reflects the community narrative. People Have New Skills Everyone has the opportunity to develop new skills through participation and collaboration. Artists are able to develop technique, craft, business skills, skills in participative and community arts practice. Opportunities to develop skills of working with vulnerable people. Other's; trainees, volunteers etc. develop general work skills and discipline. All develop skills in arts management and delivery. Skills for life and employment working with diverse teams and project management. Having fun, learning, experimenting, working together makes us all better and open to points of view and caring and empathy and growth. Becoming an artist and earning a living requires many skills both creative and business and confidence in the value of YOUR VOICE. Because working in a vibrant space and with other artists is positive, stimulating and irresistibly infectious. Inclusion develops everyone creating an organisation that stimulates hearts, minds, art and well-being. Practical experiences build transferable skills for employment and life. Reducing Stigma. Re-defining Labels. Having a voice. Finding the self through arts engagement. The truth. Putting a value on people, their lives their stories. Valuing every contribution and all people as part of a team, project, production, group or community. Because confidence is a key factor and contributing helps build new: Truth of self - self identity - public identity - work - pride. Exposure to work created challenges stereotypes. Growing Respect and Diversity Through creating theatre with people from various backgrounds and hearing different voices and sharing stories and points of view which challenge your own. Learning how to relate to and work alongside 'unexpected people'. Through seeing that skills and talents come from all walks of life and all can have a 'stage' for their voice which is valued and valuable. Cultural mixes are exciting they support better art through genuine relationships free of boundaries and transactional caution. Strengths encouraged gives vulnerable people the appetite for success and a pride that they are being heard. Positive exchange of ideas stimulates discussion, debate, sensitivity, thought, respect and drives change. People Contribute to and Benefit From Networks and Collaborations Reaching further and stimulating other arts work to happen. Crossing boundaries and creating new relationships within Walk Tall and our growing external networks. By cross working with both our counselling and education services. Through opportunities to collaborate across disciplines, engage with audiences and test new ideas and work. Positive relationships benefit all. Community networks, partnerships with theatre and theatre companies all helping to give people the resources to find their own career or future. Positive exchange of ideas and approaches, including 2 way feedback with audiences stimulates a creative community for all. People Become More Resilient Through building creative confidence as artists by making and showing work. Development of new skills and with confidence of working in and around artists and the public within an arts space. Teamwork developed, network groups and creative community growing. All through a building of trust and reliability and therefore appreciation. Because developing an increased sense of recognition in a role gives people a greater hope and confidence . Because being appreciated and valued for your contribution matters to everyone. Because positive community and networks give people greater resources to bounce back after set backs and to support everyone. We provide a place where making and experiencing arts helps people to: Participate and have fun. Expand cultural and artistic horizons. Have a VOICE. Increase creative confidence and ability. Develop new skills. Appreciate diversity. Develop networks and collaborate. Develop career as an artist. Try out new work and find voice as an artist. Recognise and self identify as an artist. Promote growth and resilience through artistic creativity. Create theatrical excellence as an artform.
At Walk Tall we work to embed these Personal Moral Qualities
Understanding another person’s experience from their perspective.
Being consistent in what one says and what one does.
Being Moral; straightforward and honest in our actions.
Being able to cope in a difficult situation.
Treating people how you would like to be treated.
Accepting people for who they are without judgement.
Remembering that we are all equal, no one is more important than anyone else.
Being able to do what is needed effectively & efficiently.
Treating others without bias favouritism or discrimination.
Possession of sound knowledge and judgement that informs practice.
The capacity to act in spite of known fears, risk & uncertainty.