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Vegan production company spotlights ethical living on stage

Robbie Potter: Founder / Artistic Director of Give ‘Em The V’s, an all-vegan ethical theatre and film production company in the United Kingdom.
Robbie Potter: Founder / Artistic Director of Give ‘Em The V’s, an all-vegan ethical theatre and film production company in the United Kingdom.
Photo courtesy of Robbie Potter / Give ‘Em The V’s, used with permission

Inspiration is everywhere and found in everything. Every blink is a lesson in living. The more we open our minds and hearts to the world around us, the better we know ourselves, the less we have to question, and hence, the more we know our lives are heading in the right direction.

What we call the Animal Rights Movement is, with greater reason, a Mixed Culture. This Mixed Culture is a mélange of caring and thinking people, so naturally the intellectual and compassionate architecture appeals to us and others like us.

The Language of the People is like speaking every known dialect. Our melting-pot family, spans the spectrum of thought and experience that translates into non-violent action. Undoubtedly, intellect, compassion, and kindness are the source of continually admirable heroic actions of communities and individuals.

Our individual struggle parallels our united struggle. We experience lows, in-betweens, and euphoria. We work, we have families, and we have equally important commitments to ourselves and loved ones as we do our devotion to the emancipation of non-human animals.

The fact of the matter is: we cannot do it alone. An individual is only the beginning, a spark, an idea. It takes a community - family - to lay a solid foundation and build a new future.

When Robbie Potter, a life-long vegetarian, discovered the horror of the dairy industry, he tried to go vegan, but lapsed. “I needed help,” Robbie says, “so I enlisted many vegan friends and researched to make sure it would stick.”

The tipping point for Robbie was his exposure to another appalling aspect of factory farming - the chicken industry. “By having contact with vegans, I had a support network in the opening month struggles,” Robbie explains. “I made a better choice of foods with more knowledge and have never looked back.”

Robbie is quite the creative soul. In addition to his poetry book, Side Winding Affection, and his two books, The Woman In The Painting and Regrettably Male, Robbie came up with the idea of Give 'Em The V's, an all-vegan ethical theatre and film production company.

Give 'Em The V's developed out of the unnecessary use of and harm to animals in media. As a fully ethical production company including actors, designers, and technicians, Give 'Em The V's exemplifies vegan living even if a particular production isn't ethically charged.

“We want to entertain people, make them think, and make a statement about veganism,” Robbie says. “Art as activism has huge potential partly because the audience have sought it out, rather than a protest they happened to walk past. Immediately, there's a receptiveness by the audience's choice to come along.”

Theatre art, Robbie believes, has an advantage when approached with artistic subtlety. “It is about being creative and clever, being thought provoking and emotive within the medium.”

Robbie’s scriptwriting techniques coax the audience in, making it their choice to lean in and to hear more. His plays with animal rights elements present the human-side as the main plot to allow the audience to identify with the characters first. The animal element is the sub-plot that develops over the established narrative, which in turn creates emotional engagement.

The recruitment process of finding volunteers committed and passionate vegan actors in London has been very difficult. While Robbie has a repertoire of theatrical animal rights scripts, he particularly lacks vegan male performers.

“I've had to write tailor-made pieces for a female cast,” Robbie states. While Robbie continues to try and recruit vegan men, he is adapting some of his shorter plays into short films with a small cast. “The recruitment of a larger cast is currently the only thing holding Give 'Em The V's back from larger and vegan-themed productions.”

From his experience and observations, Robby thinks the shortage of available male vegan actors is deeply rooted with conventionally prescribed masculine traits such as sexism and speciesism. Men who possess intellectual acumen along with emotional intelligence ignore society’s programmed male mentality and are already heavily engaged in activism, thus the pool of male vegan actors is small.

“Give 'Em The V's will be built,” Robbie says with absolute determination, “through saturation and slow development by a committed core that I hope can soon push on to the next stage and be out there provoking and engaging with our audience.”

Click here to contact Robbie if you are interested in volunteering with Give 'Em The V's as an actor or theatrical technician. Production groups interested in using Robbie’s scripts, such as his full length vegan themed play, Innocence Is a Chameleon, are also encouraged to contact Robbie.

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