Strengthening communities with the power of theatre
The Storyhouse Theatre in Chester (Credit: Alamy)
Theatre is much more than just a means of entertainment. The value the arts can bring to a community is undeniable, and on World Theatre Day, it's time for us to celebrate that fact.
This World Theatre day, we are taking a closer look at a National Lottery-funded project supporting their communities through theatre and performance.
Fallen Angels Dance Theatre was co-founded ten years ago by Paul Bayes Kitcher and his wife Claire. The organisation has received half a million pounds of National Lottery funding since 2010 and provides dance theatre experiences for people in recovery from addiction.
Paul, a former professional ballet dancer, struggled with drug and alcohol addiction, but through sheer hard work and determination, turned his life around – launching the motivational dance theatre company. Using his life experiences and skills as a student, dancer and guest teacher at The Royal Ballet School and Birmingham Royal Ballet, Paul helps and supports hundreds of people with a range of needs – from alcohol and drug misuse to mental health problems – to turn their lives around.
During the pandemic, the group used National Lottery funding to support people with virtual sessions on dance and movement. Paul said, “This was a very dark time for lots of people but hopefully I was able to make an impact with daily virtual sessions, demonstrating how movement can really make a huge difference.”
Fallen Angels, which has a headquarters in Chester but also operates groups in Liverpool and Leigh, is now looking to expand into Manchester later this year.
During his career, Paul has had the honour of dancing for Princess Diana and Princess Margaret. He has returned to The Royal Ballet School to teach students, and through Fallen Angels, has taught in prisons and rehab centres, and has helped people of all ages and with varying needs.
He was also thrilled to introduce Her Majesty The Queen to the Fallen Angels community group at the official opening of Storyhouse Theatre in Chester where the company is in residence.
Paul is currently launching Transfiguration, a trio of films that shows snapshots of people, like Paul, and their experiences of addiction and recovery. The films are 10-minute dance and spoken word films that explore the carnage and chaos of addiction and the unbearable compulsion to use. But through the despair, it also shows that recovery can be possible. The first two films can be viewed here with the third coming out later this Spring.
Thanks to National Lottery players, over £30 million is raised for Good Causes every week, funding projects like Fallen Angels Dance Theatre and helping communities come together across the UK.
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