We had the good fortune of connecting with Helena Walsh and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Helena, can you talk to us a bit about the social impact of your business?
The studio’s mission is to empower a “clan” of artists to use the arts to foster more compassion in the world by embracing difference – their own and each other’s.
Our difference is what makes us unique. Yet, to be different in this world – and comfortable with one’s difference – takes an enormous amount of courage. That’s because many systems around us tempt us to be the same as others. We learn to stand in our own power, when we wake up to what it feels like to be in another’s. This is no easy feat.
My work is deeply influenced by my additional training to my acting and voice work as a Human Empowerment & Resiliency Coach using Organic Intelligence founded by Steve Hoskinson. It’s like the neuroscience of the creative process. The work enables the actor to deeply transform unhelpful and conditioned habits as well as anxiety, trauma, ptsd and step into a new embodied awareness of who they really are – unique and whole.
With this newfound awareness, the actor literally sets the stage for audiences to experience a collective shift in consciousness towards compassion – one story, one song, one dance, at a time.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I guess for me I see and feel all life as an expression of art. The first place I felt it was in nature, growing up by the ocean in awe of its strength and the wildness of its nature. I see this wildness and strength too in humankind. I am amazed by how fascinating and truly beautiful people are when they are rooted deeply in their own sense of belonging. Connecting deeply to a story or their story, transforming and changing those who listen and witness their expression.
I work with artists for stage and screen as well as empower working professionals and leaders in the art of being empowered. I saw so much injustice, lack of understanding, lack of collaboration and communication in these areas that I needed and wished for a different world so I decided to create it. It did not exist so I imagined it, then daily one person at a time, grew our studio into the empowered collective it is today. My professional art form is voice, acting and empowerment coaching. “The Art of Being Human”, “The Art of the Human Voice”, “The Art of Resiliency and Empowerment” and “The Art of Leadership”.
I set up my studio four months before my marriage ended so I moved into my dad’s house and stayed there for three years, while I grew the business. I had no financial backing so I worked daily to pay the bills and tried many different ways before fine tuning the studio to what is today. I invested all my money in it and worked long hours. Setting up on my own, on my own terms with my own clan in order to feel truly liberated to innovate and discover a new path for actors to transform and evolve in their lives and career. It was one leap into the unknown after another and I loved it. I did become unwell and got burnt out which taught me to bring more balance and seek out the support I needed in order to do what I needed to do. Something deep within me always knew and never doubted that this was the way forward for me.
I had unique support in my colleagues, and in particular Christina McMahon who was the one who started to video my work, post it on social media and brand the studio. I could not have done this without her. She is also one of my actors so knows my work very well. With Benjamin Mathes, one of my acting colleagues, we set up surfing and acting workshops in the south of Ireland where actors from LA, Ireland and Europe came together for a week to explore our work.
From there the work expanded and Ben and I created a ten week advanced actor training. Then my voice courses expanded and another colleague Ruth McGill came on board and we developed through word of mouth and a pretty stunning instagram account following. It all grew organically from a loving, passionate and collaborative place. My other colleague Chris Edmund also hopped on board as an acting coach and we created over time a second course called ” The Art of the Human Voice” working with accent, animation and text. I designed my ideal programmes and actors turned up which was wonderful. I had the most exceptional support in
What I have learned is that it is the people you have with you that makes all the difference and getting clear on boundaries between life and work allows more enjoyment and pleasure in the growth and prosperity of the studio. That no matter how much I love what I do, my family and life are at the centre.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I think it would be outdoors by the ocean and in the Forests. I would take them for a sunrise swim and then breakfast on the beach. Followed by a walk in Glendalough, which is called ” the valley of the two lakes”. It has truly spectacular scenery and long treks through the woods, above the lakes. Later to a pub called the ‘Hole in the Wall” , it dates back to 1651, It was enjoyed historically as a coaching house and tavern.
We would have day one in Dublin and the rest of the week in a beautiful seaside town called “Clonakilty” in West Cork. Here we would surf for the week, stay in a house overlooking the beach at Inchydoney, where I grew up. We would spend the mornings surfing in the oceans and the afternoons visiting local beauty spots, such as the cliff walk in Rosscarbery. Another afternoon on Garnish Island, in Glengarriff, which has a wonderful boat trip to the island where you can catch pods of dolphins and a bob of seals. One evening night kayaking, exploring the bioluminescence in the open waters, which is like seeing the cosmos mirrored from the ocean, millions of bright lights, lighting up as the oars hit the water. If Covid were not here and it was a different world right now, we would go to Shanley’s pub and have a sing song and listen to local musicians playing traditional Irish music and sit by an open fire having a chat at the bar.
As Covid is here, then some wine, listening to the sound of the ocean from our house with a sea view on a hill. The best roastery in Southern Ireland is in Clonakilty, called Stone Valley, set up by two local musicians. They export their coffee around the world and it is truly delicious. It is a fully fair trade town and has been, as long as I can remember. It has a wonderful community spirit and it is known for attracting musicians from all over the world. I grew up with an international busking festival on the streets yearly and now there is an international guitar festival. The people are warm and welcoming, a town of storytellers and musicians.
That pretty much sums it up. I am not much of a city kid. Any chance I get it is the ocean or the forest and Clonakilty.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I have an exceptional team of collaborators and co creators at the studio and without them the studio would not be what it is today. I dedicate this them. They said ” Yes ” and supported me when all it was, was a crazy idea, full of the unknown and leaping from one mountain too another discovering the light of the dark as went along. This is dedicated to Christina McMahon, Benjamin Mathes, Ruth McGill, Chris Edmund, Tom Burke my Dad and my daughter, Eden. I love to collaborate and co create and I am deeply grateful to each and everyone of these beautiful human beings for going on the adventure thus far.
Instagram: @helenawalshcoaching https://www.instagram.com/helenawalshcoaching/
Photographer for Helena’s portrait images is “Laine Alcantara” linkedin.com/in/elainealcantaralima