The first workshop as part of the FLIGHT project was in Clapham, with nine participants all sharing their lived experiences about addiction. The themes that have emerged have ranged from isolation and rejection to elation and recovery. The exploration of these themes has resulted in improvisations offered from the group – managing both to be extremely raw and touching and then also completely hilarious.
The amount they have shared of their own lives paired with the power and intelligence of their imaginations made for an incredible showing of work entitled Flight which was performed on 18th September 2015 at St Mungos to an applause-filled full house.
The performance was created through group improvisations, led by facilitators Jim Pope and Jeanette Rourke, and focused around themes offered by the group including memory, identity, gain and loss. There was a collective exploration of reflection, about life how it was for them whilst in addiction and how it is post-rehabilitation and in recovery.
“Your friends who use drugs cut you off when you stop – they become uninterested. And you realise that your only common thread holding you together – using drugs together – has been frayed. I choose to be sober and clean and they continue to use. I can’t be around them now. I think clearer. I feel cleaner. I’ve gotten really into the outdoors. In Autumn, you see so many colours and shades of light just walking around the park. I couldn’t believe I’d been missing it for all these years whilst shutting myself inside. There is so much more to living than I knew. It’s called life.”
“I’ve lived a very small life.
I want to be a part of the world.”
“I was a coward. Now I don’t do anything by halves.”
The workshops included games, such as hot-seating each other’s characters – where the group got to ask the character questions. This helped the participants create a fully fleshed out person with wants, likes, and dislikes. Each character had their own personalities, and from this the group created improvisations where relatives of the characters featured. With this the explorations shifted to being about the relationship between family and addiction.