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H&F helps Fulham theatre group win Hearts award

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Image captionImage 1: The Outside Edge Theatre Company in rehearsal

A Fulham theatre company has won an award to celebrate its close working partnership with Hammersmith & Fulham Council on battling addiction.

The Parsons Green-based Outside Edge Theatre Company – the only drama group in the UK to focus on addiction and substance misuse – is now the proud holder of the 2020 Hearts for the Arts prize for improving community wellbeing.

Judged by high-profile figures from arts and science, the award was made for the difference the theatre company has made in the fields of health, art and wellbeing, and for the working cooperation between the company and H&F Council.

Aptly announced on Valentine’s Day, the prize has been heralded by H&F Council’s Deputy Leader Cllr Sue Fennimore – a long-term supporter of the drama company and its work – as ‘important recognition of the close ties between the borough and its innovative, pioneering theatre groups’.

The award will be formally presented to Matt Steinberg, artistic director of Outside Edge, in early March.

“It’s obviously a really lovely recognition of the impact of our activities,” said Matt. “But more importantly it recognises the contribution that our local authority partners, in particular Hammersmith & Fulham, have made in their commitment to support our work. We feel very proud to share this award with H&F.”

Shunned

One of the judges, Spandau Ballet founder Gary Kemp, said: “Outside Edge works successfully in an area that’s underfunded and often shunned. Often addicts do not have the family support group, or outlet, to find their self-esteem again. These guys are providing that.”

Fellow adjudicator Susie Dent, host of Countdown’s dictionary corner, added: “The highest praise for Hammersmith & Fulham for their support of this transformative company.

“Outside Edge brings to those lowered and challenged by substance abuse the togetherness of rehearsal, the robust self-testing of creativity and the simple joy of performance.”

History

Outside Edge, based in Munster Road, SW6, was set up two decades ago to show that theatre has the power to help lead people out of addiction and into recovery.

A charity whose patrons include Mark Rylance, Pierce Brosnan, Anna Chancellor and ex-Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, it runs monthly acting and writing workshops, which are free to attend and are open to anyone affected by substance misuse, and also produces plays.

For more details, visit the Outside Edge Theatre Company website.

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