Staging Addiction Recovery. Researching the role of theatre in addiction recovery. 2012.
Cultural Partner:
Fallen Angels Dance Theatre
HE Partner:
Liverpool Hope University

Fallen Angels Dance Theatre and Liverpool Hope University are working in partnership on Staging Addiction Recovery (SAR), a research project (2012-present) that is conducted by Zoe Zontou (Liverpool Hope University). The project seeks to investigate the role of socially engaged theatre in supporting problem drug users towards their journey to recovery. It aims to advance the findings of Zoe Zontou’s previous research (Zontou 2011, 2013) and to critically examine the relationship between participatory theatre, recovery from addiction in alcohol and other drugs, and notions of citizenship, cultural democracy and wellbeing. In doing so, the project explores the work of Fallen Angels Dance Theatre  (henceforth FADT). FADT is an arts charity that aims to promote recovery from addiction and mental health through dance theatre. Its vision is to provide high quality dance theatre experiences for people in recovery from addiction where they are accepted, valued, and realise their potential. FADT provides a structured pathway to enhance recovery from addiction through:  workshops, projects, training and performances. Since the establishment of their partnership in 2012, Zontou has forged new opportunities for FADT to develop as a leading organization in the arts for recovery. In her role as researcher in residency and creative consultant, she is responsible for co-designing, co-delivering and evaluating their participatory projects. Working collaboratively with the Charity’s manager Claire Morris and artistic director Paul Bayers Kitcher, they have developed a sustainable model of cultural engagement and participation that allows them to monitor and measure the impact of FADT’s activities.  In 2017, they received funding from the Paul Hamlyn Access & Participation fund – Test and Explore, to deliver the project ‘Creative Conversations: Collaborative Dance Theatre Production’.  Zontou acted as an external evaluator and applied theatre researcher. Aside from measuring and analysing the impact of the project, she designed and piloted an audience interactive element that had an impact in initiating the dialogue between the project participants and audience members about addiction and recovery. They are current co-designing a comprehensive and bespoke method of monitoring and evaluating FADTs’ projects, which aims to track the impact and effectiveness of participation in dance theatre.

Publications about Fallen Angels Dance Theatre:

Zontou, Z. (forthcoming, 2019) “Performance, Dislocation and Spirituality: Adrift together”, In Musca, S., and Galea, Redefining Theatre Communities: International Perspectives in Community-Conscious Theatre-Making (Bristol: Intellect)

Zontou, Z. (2018) ‘Under the Influence of …Affective Performance’ Performance Research, 22.7.

Zontou, Z. (2017) “Upon Awakening: Addiction, Performance and Aesthetics of Authenticity”, In O’Grady, A ed. Risky Aesthetics: Performance, Participation and Critical Vulnerabilities (London: Palgrave MacMillan)

Zontou, Z. (2017)  “Dance lifts us up in the world”: socially engaged arts with people in recovery from addiction. In Baxter, V and Low K, Performing Health and Wellbeing (London: Bloomsbury)

Zontou, Z. (2014) Staging Recovery from Addiction, In: J., Reynolds,  and Z., Zontou  eds Addiction and Performance (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars)

Contact: Prof Steve Davismoon

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