Words by Angela Clark & Photos by Caroline Finn
Local people recovering from substance and alcohol abuse channelled their life experiences into drama and on to the stage.
The six-month drama project, run by Creative Change Collective, uses creativity to help people in recovery or at risk of entering the justice system.
CCC works with the drama students to help increase skills and confidence until participants are ready to perform on stage in front of a larger audience.
Drama teacher, Lorraine Hudson, said: “As part of the programme which leads to the stage performance, we ask people to give a character name.
“We don’t know whether they are describing themselves or their character. It means they don’t need to worry about sharing personal details.
“That is how we create content for the performance and why it is called Recovering Voices.”
And the recovery drama programme had long-term positive impact on participants’ lives.
Young mother Ashley Mundie was starting to mend family relationships after attending the course for a few months.
She said: “Before I came to this group I was shut down and isolated and would never have believed I would have stood up in front of my peers.
‘It has changed my life in many ways. It helped build my self-esteem and confidence.
“I’ve started talking to my mum again as we have had a difficult relationship and she’s coming to the show and telling me how proud she is of me.
“I have just got back in contact with my son after four years. I never thought I would get my child back.
“My life has changed, and this is just the start.”
Laughter and Reflection
The students learn things about themselves through different games created to help clear up past events and allow inner healing.
The classes use therapy through laughter and voice reflection work to create a journey through difficult times.
Michael Dale explained how he has benefited from the classes: “It helped build my confidence, they’ve taken me out of my comfort zone and improved my mental health.
“It also showed me there are other things out there and I’ve discovered I’m pretty good at drama, although it won’t be a career choice.
“I would like to help people.
“By doing this it shows people who know me and who are still out there using, we can get better.”
On the day of their performance nearly every seat in Dumbarton’s Denny Civic Theatre was filled with family, friends and members of the public – we were all in for a treat.
There were tears, laughter and sadness in memory of those who had lost their lives to drug and alcohol addiction.
But above all the professionalism of those on stage delivering the script they had created, was a reminder to all that recovery is possible and there is a life beyond mind-altering chemicals.
For more information about Creative Change Collective or for support with substance use contact Alternatives on 01389 734500
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