Madhouse Rhythm creator Joshua Walters is a coach, performer, and producer who “explores language, creativity, beatboxing and madness” -TED.com. At the moment Joshua is on a quest to launch a global day without technology called UnPlug! With the help of the National Performance Network and in partnership with Reboot’s National Day of Unplugging, Joshua has set out to curate an interactive musical comedy experience, highlighting the benefits of disconnecting from our technological devices. He is a regular contributor to Snap Judgment, a weekly storytelling radio show on NPR with TV broadcasts on PBS. Walters is best known for his work on TED Talks, for his talk entitled On Being Crazy Enough, which explores the bipolar spectrum and is now at 2M views and counting. He is involved in mental health advocacy nation-wide and takes part in mentoring youth on the creative spectrum.
Walters’ first full length solo play, Madhouse Rhythm, debuted to critical acclaim in 2008. Madhouse Rhythm is an autobiographical collage of traditional theater, spoken word, and beatboxing. This show has had a great impact in the theater and mental health community and is now included as part of the Performance and Disability Studies curriculum at UC Berkeley. On February 22, 2011 Walters celebrated 10 Years of Madness, a performance that spurred his theater run at The Marsh in Berkeley. Each show featured a completely unique blend of artistic innovation and audience interaction.
In 2014, Walters set out to design an interactive theater experience in which young people could perform for the first time. The result was UnPlug! a granted work from the National Performance Network in partnership with Reboot. Workshops, performances and guest lecturers took place nationally with residencies at La Pena Cultural Center in Berkeley, CA. and at The Myrna Loy Center of the Arts in Helena, MT. UnPlug! was a result of a longtime collaboration between Walters and artistic director Marc Bamuthi Joseph. Currently Walters is involved in embedding the UnPlug! program as mental health curriculum in U.S. high schools.
His eclectic combination of performance disciplines and acts as an educator in mental health has given Walters a national platform and audience. Walters is a National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) State Speaker and in 2002, he co-founded the Depression Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) Young Adults Chapter in San Francisco, one of the few support groups specifically for mentally ill young adults in the country. Walters speaks as a mental health educator and has engaged in mental health advocacy at universities, conventions, and fundraisers. As a facilitator, Walters uses humor to address the often dark subject of mental illness, re-framing it as a positive. *Mental Skillness*