Robbie worked in theatre, film and television for over 30 years. He started his training at a young age, attending Sylvia Young’s Theatre School. Robbie’s performance debut began at the age of 12 playing Charlie from the musical “Oliver” with Bill Kenwright Productions, and the Milky Bar Kid (in the TV ads, not 'Oliver'). Robbie studied acting at The 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 at Impulse Theatre Company, Actors Space and CityLit London. He also studied clowning with ‘The Spy Monkeys’.
He was also a trained psychologist, and this set him apart from other directors / practitioners. As a theatre maker he combined a dynamic creativity with a sophisticated understanding of the human heart. He knew the power of people, behaviour, society and storytelling. He captured and cherished the voices of real people to enlighten his very specific brand of truth in theatre.
As a theatre practitioner Robbie specialised in the Meisner technique, Laban and clowning. He brought these techniques to performers with a sense of exploration and discovery, allowing the performer to find their own way and empowering them to be brave and find the truth.
When we started working on the idea of turning 'The Plant' from a short story into a performance, we decided to approach the project through devising (using improvisation to develop the characters, script and narrative). We approached Robbie Humphries, whose extensive knowledge of theatre and improvisation made him the perfect director for us. Sure enough, he proceeded to take us on a journey of discovery.
Robbie’s work in theatre always pushed boundaries, both for the performer and for the audience. His practice always centred upon giving a voice to those who are all too often silenced, and bringing their stories to light. In short, he was perfect for 'The Plant'.
Our journey with Robbie began two years ago and helped us to find the voices, characters and stories that would make this piece come alive. He introduced us to ideas and techniques that took ‘The Plant’ to a new dimension. Robbie took all of us in hand and made us better performers, better writers - and better human beings.
On August the 18th 2018, Robbie was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Despite every effort on the part of his doctors, there was nothing that could be done. During this time, Robbie continued to live his life and continued to rehearse with us - until it became too much for him. On Saturday the 9th of February 2019, Robbie passed away peacefully at home surrounded by family and love.
Robbie was a beautiful human being who showed us how we could be better ones ourselves.