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Outside Edge Theatre Company

Aid and emergency | Children and young people | Youth | Culture, heritage and events | Arts | Drama | London events | Music | Health and social care | Drugs and addictions | Healthy living | Mental health | People and communities | Domestic violence | Homelessness and housing | Offenders and ex offenders | Women | Social justice and democracy | Employment

Where to find us

61 Munster Road, London, SW6 5RE

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Organisation aims / mission / values

  • Outside Edge Theatre Company is the UK's only theatre company and participatory arts charity focused on addiction.
  • We offer free weekly drama activities for people affected by substance misuse to help improve their wellbeing and support recovery maintenance.
  • We create theatre productions about issues related to substance misuse.
OETC's production of Check-in/Check-out (photo: Ali Wright)

OETC's production of Check-in/Check-out (photo: Ali Wright)

How we deliver these aims

OETC’s arts-based interventions offer fun, creative activities within an ongoing peer-support network. Our facilitators and peer mentors, many of whom are ex-service users, work in-depth with participants to ensure individual needs are met and participants identify and achieve clear outcomes as they progress through OETC’s skills programme. This person-centred approach accounts for why 91% of current participants surveyed said OETC strengthened their recovery; 83% did not use substances in the past month; and 48% did not use substances in the past year. OETC currently offers 4 weekly workshops: 1) Drop-in Drama, a fun introduction to acting; 2) Write Now, a drop-in dramatic writing group; 3) Edge Two, a yearlong theatre skills group; and 4) The Company, an ensemble of performers and writers in recovery who tour productions to treatment facilities and community centres. We also delivered hour-long Drama Taster Sessions in publicly funded treatment facilities across London that introduced people early in recovery to the positive effects of arts-based interventions to support recovery maintenance. OETC’s activities promote the Five Ways to Wellbeing: connect, be active, learn, take notice and give. Two hour sessions start with a check-in where participants share their feelings with the group. This is followed by a warm-up that includes fundamental exercises for re-socialising, such as making eye contact, before improvisation skills are taught to the group, demanding participants stay focused on working collaboratively within the group. Our innovative drama workshops improve self-confidence, reduce loneliness and promote wellbeing. This three-pronged approach help participants to reduce harmful behaviour and stay sober.

Who benefits from our work

OETC’s arts-based interventions support people affected by substance misuse and addiction. Our service users have direct experience of drug and alcohol abuse or other non-substance based addictions, such as online gambling. We also support people who have been affected by someone else’s addiction or who might be at risk of addiction and substance misuse (e.g., young people involved in gangs, vulnerably housed adults, people with mental health problems). Currently, our service users are aged between 21-75 years old and most have multiple complex needs. Last year, 33% of our service users identified as either having a physical or mental health concern and 61% had experience of the criminal justice system. 56% of service users were on benefits and 89% said they had previously been on benefits, with 72% earning less than £11,850. These complex needs significantly contribute to our service users’ harmful behaviours, with 22% identifying as having a problem with opioid use, 61% with other drugs and 70% with alcohol.


61 Munster Road, London, SW6 5RE