Joseph is a highly engaging and versatile actor and writer. He appeared at the Unicorn theatre performing in Huddle and toured with his one-man show, Big Foot, which he both wrote and performed. A semi-autobiographical coming-of-age tale that intertwines Guyanese folk stories and grime music, Big Foot is a raw and highly passionate play that challenges masculinity within the Young Black Male stereotype in an honest and humorous way. The play was featured on BBC Radio 4’s Loose Ends and had led to Joseph being part of the BBC London Voices writers scheme, where he is working on some exciting new projects for television.
Joseph is has also been working on a new play commissioned by Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds. Building on themes explored in Big Foot, this project sees him delivering an engagement programme with men at Highpoint Prison, exploring racial stereotyping, being a man and becoming an adult. The work was presented to an invited audience of youth workers, families of the prisoners and local young people at risk of offending.
Joseph is also co-artistic director of HighRise Theatre, who produced Big Foot alongside Black Theatre Live and Stratford Circus. HighRise Theatre is an exciting new company that is bringing new voices to the industry though cultural anecdotes and grime/hip hop which aid them to voice forgotten communities, underrepresented in the theatre. In his piece for the Huffington Post “I Created A Theatre Show To Stamp Out The Stereotypes Of A Young Black Man”, Joseph discussed the importance of creating and producing theatre that portrays unheard voices and brings them to new audiences across the theatrical landscape.
In 2017, Joseph was also seen in Concrete Jungle Book at the Edinburgh Fringe playing Baloo, a reggae singing, fun loving vegan who is addicted to honey. Produced by High Rise, the show took stories from migrants from war-torn African countries who have reached the UK through Calais and blended it with Kipling’s original, using live rap music, spoken word and high energy physicality. Recently, he has been working on positive engagement programmes and performances for prison inmates in a way to encourage the use of theatre in rehabilitation.
Joseph trained at East 15.
“Joseph Barnes-Phillips writes with emotive, close-to-home clarity about longing, fatherhood and love.” The Tung