Who We Are
Trybe House Theatre (THT) is a company that works primarily with young black men to actively build resilience and self-wellbeing, using theatre as a supportive outlet. We engage in interactive workshops designed to facilitate emotional understanding and trust to encourage openness and sharing; developing a sense of purpose and connectivity.
After years of reports released by Gov.uk and the Centre Of Mental Health we noticed the alarming statistics on the disparity between black men asking for help and accessing support when it’s too late. Given the alarming data, our primary aim is to fill the gap by providing support for young black men by creating a space where young men can express themselves through theatre. The company creates work that looks at the lived experience of the men that we work with and we encourage them to tell their story unapologetically.
In 2015, under the leadership of Philip J Morris, the Birmingham Repertory Theatre took part in an initial pilot scheme Up My Street. This project aimed to improve the mental well-being of young black men through the medium of arts, specifically theatre. It was developed in direct response to statistics that show young black men in the U.K. are much more likely to develop serious mental illness than any other demographic. Funded by MIND, and independently evaluated by the Centre for Mental Health, their findings concluded that the young men were particularly positive about assessing something which provided them with ‘a different vibration’, and encouraged the ‘unique and empowering impact of collective male unity and positive social commitment.’ Several participants also talked about the value they found in the cultivation of a growth mindset : “The past few months of doing all these plays and scripting, and all these techniques has shown me that there’s things that I need to be learning and developing.” The full evaluation was compiled into a report – Against The Odds – and included participants sharing an extract from a devised production – Zulu Blue – at an event in Portcullis House in July 2017, to an audience of senior policy makers, funders and influencers.
In 2019, Philip moved from Birmingham to London to take up the role of Trainee Director at The Royal Court. It has remained a great ambition of his to revive and expand the focus of that original Up My Street work, especially in London, but also now to meet increasing demand from across the United Kingdom. Trybe House Theatre provides an important mechanism for the realisation of this: Its creation marks a significant new step forwards.
As everyone knows, the Covid-19 global pandemic and resulting lockdowns severely restricted the work of theatres and their employees, including Philip. It did, however, free up some important time for him to develop his ambition. Furthermore, the widespread response to the death of George Floyd increased requests for Philip’s practice and experience to support young black men through engaged participation in theatre activities.
During the summer of 2020, Philip reached out to close friends to help develop his aspirations further. They brain-stormed ideas and formulated plans for forthcoming activities which led to Philip, Chenube, and Stefan’s creation of the company . Since launching their first pilot project in 2021 in the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs (JTU), Trybe House has become an associate company at the Royal Court Theatre, partnered with Paines Plough, collaborated with the National Youth Theatre, and are currently partners with the National Theatre on NT Public Acts.
“It was amazing to explore the power in our writing and acting; seeing the differences but also the collectiveness brought a lot of power, energy and laughter.”
“Being in a room full of young black men, really did fuel the creativeness within me again, it made me trust my own creative process where I didn’t feel like I had to match other people’s experiences. It created a sense of freedom. I’m really excited for where Trybe House is gonna go.”
Its been a long time coming just to be a room with young black men and hopefully it just grows and grows with even more black men in big spaces like the Royal Court and beyond.I haven’t written in a while, but that week allowed me to play with so many ideas which has made me want to get back into my theatre making again. So many tools were brought in and we were given the opportunity to just play.” Tyreke Leslie
Personal skills I’ve gained were teamwork & speaking confidence about my ideas and consistency in giving a 100% in every lesson.Trybe house has helped my mental well being by having an open support system. Where we can talk and speak about our ideas and thoughts and feelings freely without judgement I’m very thankful for this brotherhood.
Being apart of Trybe House has enabled me to delve deeper into an industry that I am really passionate about and learn more about it, whilst also having the opportunity to link up with like minded individuals that carry the same interests as me.
It has made me more confident in my acting abilities and more certain on where I want to go in my career as Trybe has helped guide me.
Trybe house has helped me expand my imagination, my creativity is sparked when I’m with Trybe house, I find it very inspiring seeing my peers at Trybe house and the greatness they are capable of. Trybe house has helped improve my confidence in acting and learn on how I can improve my skills. My social skills have developed to where I am very excited to meet new people.
Trybe house has improved my mental health, it has given me a comfortable space to be in to share how I am feeling with others and has helped me realise that I am not alone in this world, I feel that I have found a new community where I have made some good friends and made great memories. It’s nice to have Trybe house by my side as an act of support also. Being with Trybe house has given me a new finding in life which I am truly grateful for.
Gained the ability to articulate my thoughts and feelings in a healthy creative manner while also building my storytelling ability. Trybe House has increased my teaming skills and the ability to empathise with the lives experiences of the others in the group. As well as that, the activities in sessions have helped build my confidence and effective communication skills (such as active listening and public speaking)
Trybe House has been a great space to be communicate openly and honestly about the goings on in my day to day life. It’s worked wonders for my mental well-being as I can often turn up to sessions feeling somewhat heavy and leave feeling refreshed and lightened. Philip and the rest of the team have cultivated a unique space for the brothers to come down and be unapologetically ourselves – a luxury we’re not often afforded in society.
From Trybe House, the skill I gained was being able to unapologetically be myself and not worry about being more or indifferent to anyone. It’s allowed me to find new connections within the group and to bond with things I never thought I’ll find a bond with, whether it be physical, acting related or mental.
Trybe House has greatly improved my well being mentally and I’ve been able to understand mentally what is going on through a man’s mind, without feeling guilt or dumb about my experience, even if I don’t share them publicly.
I’ve gained better communication skills within my own ethnic community. Trybe has helped me work on my confidence in a large space, especially with other black men .Mentally trybe’s put me in a better place, looking forward to the days ahead because I’m apart of something creative
Since joining Trybe I have developed an innate level of trust and ease to be vulnerable and comfortable in a room full of strangers, I have been able to keep my guard down and be open to like minded young men. I have also then developed the skills in free writing lyrics and words that express what is going on in and around me.
My experience with Trybe House has positively impacted my mental well being in that I actually care enough and check in with myself better. I have valuable control over myself and my emotions and now understand the need to look after myself and mental well being better.
Trybe has made me a lot more confident in myself and my ability in acting has helped me hone and expand my communication and listening skills which has made me more of an active listener and effective communicator so i can tell people what i need help with and take their advice onboard and effectively implement those skills into my daily life
Being a part of Trybe House as done a lot for me mentally initially coming into the acting industry i thought there was only a small part of the industry for people like me however after being introduced to Trybe they’ve shown me that there’s a whole community of us just trying to navigate the industry and learning as we go along and Trybe gives us the space and opportunity to share and express those ideas and help one another to reach our goals not only in acting but in life
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