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The Walking Theatre Group was first formed in Hollywood in 1992 under the direction of actor/filmmaker Joseph Culp.  Culp had been involved for several years with psychologist John F. Cogswell, PhD. co-developing the transpersonal body/mind technique they called “Walking-In-Your-Shoes” (WIYS), and now wished to apply it directly to the needs of theatre artists in an ongoing workshop. 

Using this simple yet profound physical technique of “spontaneous empathy”, the group of actors, writers and directors explored the WIYS process as it applied to developing characters, writing plays and screenplays, and deepening their work.  WIYS had been shown to yield powerful results in psychotherapy and personal growth, and the results proved just as powerful for the theatre artist—Anything could be “walked”; a person, an ancestor, an archetype, an unwritten role, a story, a memory, a dream, without any prior knowledge about the subject or calling on imitation.  By committing to the intention to be another and by learning to completely follow the body’s impulses, a full, physical-emotional experience could manifest spontaneously.

The Walking Theatre Group focused for several years on training and practice of WIYS, learning to apply the technique and gaining trust in the process.  In 1995, the Group used the process to adapt two short works by Franz Kafka, “The Judgment” and “In The Penal Colony”, which were performed in Los Angeles.

In 1996, the Walking Theatre Group performed the interactive theatrical event, “Walking-In-Your-Shoes – Welcome to the Great Beyond”.  The Group presented WIYS as a viable theatrical and therapeutic technique to a live audience.  The audience was invited to offer themselves and other archetypal figures and subjects to be walked by the Group.

In 2005, the Walking Theatre Group began its residence at the Electric Lodge in Venice, CA. 

Joseph Culp continues to lead the weekly Walking Theatre Workshop where performing artists can practice WIYS and develop new and original work for theatre and film.  Plays and performance pieces generated in the workshop are performed by the Walking Theatre Group at the Electric Lodge in group shows every year.  The Group is also a frequent participant at the Max 10 Performance Lab at the Electric Lodge.