Hammersmith & Fulham, Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea – Outside Edge Theatre Company

Outside Edge Theatre Company shortlisted for Best Arts Project - Arts, Health and Wellbeing in the 2020 Hearts for the Arts Awards.


Outside Edge Theatre Company (OETC) is the UK’s only theatre company and participatory arts charity helping people affected by addiction. For the past 20 years they have been funded by local authority public health departments in Hammersmith and Fulham, Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea to provide free, abstinence-based drama activities in the local community to support people’s recovery maintenance. 

Their peer-led, asset-based exercises are rooted in the Five Ways To Wellbeing and help participants identify their existing strengths to improve self-confidence, reduce loneliness and promote health and wellbeing. This three-pronged approach supports people to learn new skills, develop Recovery Capital and reduce harmful behaviour. 

Last year, OETC delivered 228 drama workshops for 278 people, resulting in 1,120 individual attendances. 89% of participants attended more than once and 20% accessed multiple groups. They produced 7 productions with service users for 568 audience members. 

OETC is linked in with West London’s drug and alcohol treatment providers and mental health services, such as Turning Point and Mind. They also partner with local arts organisations, such as the Bush Theatre, LAMDA, Lyric Hammersmith and H&F Arts Fest, to offer free theatre tickets and drama activities for residents in West London’s recovery community.

What the judges said:

This is an exceptionally strong submission, which fully demonstrates: the need for this work; an established local and regional set of partnerships; an agile and innovative approach; and good evidence of impact in supporting people affected by addiction and substance misuse.

‘Wonderful innovation! The need for the work you’re doing is obvious and is seemingly having a massive impact for many. I look forward to following your work in the future!’

Photo credit: Ali Wright