The Road to Recovery, facilitated by Red Clay Community Theatre was a three-stage theatre-making project commissioned by Goldbridge Rehabilitation Services.
The project aimed to challenge existing perceptions of addiction and provide an opportunity for participants with alcohol and drug addictions to tell their stories of addiction and recovery through theatre, music and writing.
A series of workshops held over an eight-week period with participants, facilitated by Red Clay in collaboration with local artists, was followed by a short four-day residency in the Space Theatre at The Arts Centre, Gold Coast.
Workshops cumulated in a showcase presentation Work in Progress at The Space which allowed the audience of 166 members to experience the obstacles and triumphs of the participants’ roads to recovery.
June to August 2016
The Arts Centre Gold Coast @ “The Space”.
$13,400 – Regional Arts Development Fund
Sharing something so personal was hard, but I’m glad I did.
I have combatted a major fear and now have my creative passion restored.
Beautiful courageous people, sprinkled with humour allowed for greater understanding of the recovery journey.
What brave people - I’m less than one week into recovery and have (sic) been given more hope
This project has opened up understanding that the use of various art forms can build cultural awareness, self-awareness and open up possibilities of services and communities to collaborate together.
The Road to Recovery project has shown the benefits of using the arts in a rehabilitation setting to help participants reflect their story and to build confidence and self-esteem.
The key is flexibility.
Bella Pidcock of Red Clay Community Theatre commented that being aware of individual’s differences and allowing for flexibility were key to the success of the project. The different life circumstances of participants and fluctuating attendance presented challenges during the project. This meant that conventional theatre making practices were often modified to accommodate the transient and uncertain nature of the group's dynamics.
Red Clay had the following hints for anyone else looking to undertake a similar project.
Plan to cater for individual differences i.e. consider each member’s needs but gradually ''train'' in group co-operation and sensitivity.
Always try to stress the positive - sometimes hard to find!
Tailor expectations to abilities - to place conventional industry standards and expectations is unrealistic and ultimately soul destroying. As colleagues reminded me: ''If you succeed in helping even one person, you have succeeded.”
Establish a safe and supportive working environment.
Try at all times to offer a non-judgmental model to your participants. There must be flexibility in one's processes.
Allow participants to experience success while accepting the right to 'fail'.