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Where Science and Art collide
November 6th, 2018

Live at Science Gallery London

Yesterday I performed with Fallen Angels Dance Theatre at the Science Gallery in a piece called ‘Acts of Addiction’ which portrayed the compulsive nature of the disease of addiction through dance, bringing Science and Art together. I was really excited about performing after a great few days of rehearsals this week, as well as to hear Professor Michael Lynskey provide a scientific perspective on addiction as I love science and find it really interesting.

Before I came into recovery I first turned to Science to look for an answer to my addiction to drugs and alcohol. I would trust a text book rather than my own or others’ lived experiences and was scared to have an opinion on anything that I couldn’t back up with a reference. I believed all the answers to life’s questions could be explained through scientific inquiry and that art was of no real world practical use. To me Art was just an added extra in life that looked pretty. I tried to study my way out of addiction, thinking that if I could just learn enough about my own psychology then I’d be able to control my drinking and using. Well, it was safe to say this approach didn’t work as the more I studied, the further and further I slipped into the grips of addiction and the more confused and scared I became.

Dancers: Nicolette Whitley and Joanna Kirkby

When I came into recovery the idea of sharing my story seemed completely pointless to me, how could sharing my thoughts and feelings honestly in all their depth and detail help me stop drinking and taking drugs? I wanted a quick, hard, fast solution and sharing my story just seemed too fuzzy and futile. However, over time I have realised how important it has been to share everything that I’ve bottled up for years, and dancing with Fallen Angels is helping me do just this. During group we have a ‘check in’ at the start of the session where we can let the rest of the group know where we’re at so we can support each other with what we’re each going through at that present time, as well as this sharing also helps us build relationships that continue on outside of the studio and some of my closest friends are also a part of Fallen Angels too. Where Fallen Angels differs from other peer support groups and talking therapies is that the parts of my story I can’t put into words can actually be conveyed through movement. For me, I find it really difficult to express the pain and torture of active addiction through words, when I talk about it I just can’t do it justice so it feels like it remains buried deep inside me like a big knotted ball. I believe dance helps to tease out these knots and the experience of active addiction, not only helping non addicts understand addiction, but also helping me understand and make sense of my own story.

This weekend, I also had a massive realisation following the question and answer session of how sharing my story through dance is helping me recover. One of the questions we were asked was about how we felt about putting our stories out there in society and whether we felt that there we felt any risk or difficulty in doing this. Ian Brown (another participant in the Liverpool group) answered this question by saying it was important to him to own his story and stand in his own truth. When Ian said this It suddenly hit me and I thought ‘wow, this is what dance is really helping me do’. I’ve felt a lot of shame about my addiction and did my utmost to conceal my addiction from the outside world, for years I unsuccessfully tried to lead a double life. What’s so amazing about Fallen Angels, is that through movement, Paul Bayes-Kitcher has been able to take our inner experiences and choreograph them into something that no longer has to be hidden. This has given me a way of sharing who I am with others rather than hiding my addiction and feeling ashamed. For example I’ve been able to send my Grandma a video of a recent dance performance. I caused my Grandma a lot of pain and heartache in active addiction so it was so amazing for me to be able to send her a film of me smiling, healthy, and doing something positive with my life. Plus she said that after watching the video she understands my addiction much better now, and she keeps telling me how proud she is of me. Dance has also made it easier to share my addiction problems at voluntary work and with old friends, I haven’t had to try and explain everything, I’ve literally just let people see the videos of our performances and they instantly just understand. Dance has definitely made me feel more confident about who I am and has made sharing my experience with non-addicts a million times easier.

Through my experience in recovery and Fallen Angels, I can now see the importance of Art and Dance, not just as something beautiful, but as an incredible way of helping people share their stories and invoke real world, practical change. I think it’s amazing that The Science Gallery and Fallen Angels have brought Science and Art together and I’m so grateful to have been a part of this performance.

Joanna Kirkby

Day Three: Joanna Fallen Angels Dance Theatre Recovery Artist..
September 13th, 2018

I joined Fallen Angels Dance Theatre a year and a half ago after coming out of detox for drug and alcohol addiction.

I had little idea of what to expect as I had never really danced before, and didn’t even know what contemporary dance was, but I absolutely loved learning to move in a completely new way that involved expressing myself, and the way that I felt through movement.

I found that through dance I was able to get completely lost in the moment, and enter a state of flow which after each session left me with a feeling of calm and serenity. This felt incredible, especially as it was such a stark contrast to the chaos, pain and turmoil I had felt during active addiction.

I took part in my first performance last February in ‘The Dark Night Ends’ which was one of the best experiences of my life, so after being a part of that I couldn’t wait to perform again so I was really excited when Paul asked me to be a part of this project as a recovery artist.

Joanna performing in Dark Night Ends at TEDx University of Chester

I’ve had a great couple of days so far in Birmingham dancing with Geese Theatre Company (Staging Recovery) and Rory and Laura from the Birmingham Royal Ballet, it’s been amazing to watch people stepping out of their comfort zone, loosing their self-consciousness and being able to freely express themselves. Some of the movement has been so beautiful it’s completely blown me away.

It’s also lovely to see people enjoying dance and getting a taste of the therapeutic value of dance that I experience myself. I’ve especially enjoyed watching Laura dance as it’s like she just floats too and from the ground it’s incredible seeing her bring elements of ballet into contemporary dance.

I can’t wait to see what is created over the next few days when all the performers and different styles of dance are brought together and I’m hoping the performance will bring something new, unique and authentic by combining dance with people’s real life struggles to create something beautiful, deep and thought provoking.

Day 2: Nicolette Whitley – Fallen Angels Dance Theatre (FADT) Company Dancer..
September 12th, 2018

Nicolette and Jo practising their duet in BRB studios

In rehearsal with BRB dancers Laura Purkiss and Rory MacKay

It was amazing today to have the full company working together. Geese Theatre and their Community Ensemble Staging Recovery shared the work they have created. I found the piece extremely moving, real and powerful. It gave me goosebumps!

It was so nice to see people from different backgrounds and experiences come together to create a high quality piece of work, with such a strong message. 

During the second half of the day FADT spent time in the studio with BRB dancers Laura Purkiss and Rory Mackay.  It was a unique experience for me to assist our Artistic Director Paul Bayes Kitcher with the choreography, working with such a high calibre of dancers. I find I am always learning new things from Paul especially how he creates and develops the work. 

FADT spent the final part of day working on our own repertoire, which I am so excited to share, and I am particularly proud of Jo* and her journey with dance and recovery so far. 

Finally it was great to have Lee Affen in the studio today. FADT’s musical composer.  His work never fails to inspire and resonate with me. I am excited to see what tomorrow brings!

*Tomorrow’s blog comes from Joanna Kirkby who will talk a bit about her journey through recovery to performing on Friday..

Day One: Acts of Recovery at Birmingham Hippodrome
September 10th, 2018

Today Fallen Angels Dance Theatre began a week residency with Geese Theatre’s Community Ensemble “Staging Recovery”  and dancers from Birmingham Royal Ballet.. We will do a daily blog to keep you updated on progress…

This morning started at the Thorpe Street entrance of the Hippodrome, the cast for “Acts of Recovery” will be coming together in the Patrick Studio all week to build up to the performance.

“Staging Recovery” met Rory Mackay Soloist at BRB before going straight into a warm up and a chance to get used to the stage space and introductions to Artistic Director Paul and dancers Nicolette and Joanna.

They spent the day sharing, exploring and devising. In the afternoon AD Paul went onto continue the exploration with Rory, Nicolette and Joanna, he explains his experience of the day:

“Its been wonderful to be back at the Hippodrome today. I’ve seen a lot of friends from 20 years ago. I was very inspired with SR and Geese Theatre they are a fantastic group, and Rory McKay Soloist dancer from BRB who embraced all the ideas and concepts that I shared with him developed through working with people in recovery.” Paul Bayes Kitcher

We hope you will join us for the performance this Friday! link: https://www.birminghamhippodrome.com/calendar/acts-of-recovery/

Photo: Fallen Angels Dance Theatre in rehearsal

Credit: Paul Bayes Kitcher

“People in recovery take the stage with dancers from Birmingham Royal Ballet”
August 24th, 2018

On Friday 14th September at 7.30pm in Birmingham Hippodrome’s Patrick Studio, Fallen Angels Dance Theatre presents a unique, one-off performance, which celebrates recovery from addiction. “Acts of Recovery” promises to be a powerful evening of dance theatre, inspired by real-life experiences.

To book

This performance brings together a unique collaboration between Fallen Angels Dance Theatre, Geese Theatre Company’s community ensemble ‘Staging Recovery’, and dancers from Birmingham Royal Ballet, all charting personal journeys of discovery.

Fallen Angels Dance Theatre is based in North West England. Since 2009, the Company’s Artistic Director Paul Bayes Kitcher, has brought together his experience as a classical dancer with Birmingham Royal Ballet and extensive work in movement and dance theatre, with people recovering from addiction. His productions provide a unique, emotive and thought-provoking experience. This year marks 20 years since Paul retired from BRB, where he danced for 8 years becoming a soloist, working with renowned choreographers such as Sir Kenneth McMillan. This production is made possible through the support of The Linbury Trust.

“When I was at Birmingham Royal Ballet I always loved to dance dramatic roles that really meant something about people’s lives. I am really excited to have this opportunity to bring together this amazing and versatile cast, to explore real-life stories of addiction and recovery. I hope to take the audience on a journey to witness the power that dance has to break stigma and transform peoples lives” Paul Bayes Kitcher

The performance also falls in the year Geese Theatre Company celebrate their 30th birthday, marking three decades of work with society’s most vulnerable and marginalised members. The Staging Recovery community ensemble, funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, began as a creative outlet for people recovering from substance misuse but has now expanded to encompass a broader definition of recovery: from mental health issues and trauma, to experiences with criminal justice. The ensemble has performed at a variety of events and venues – audience members describe being captivated by “the commitment and honesty of the performers” and this event will be no exception.

“We are really looking forward to collaborating with Fallen Angels for a week long intensive project. Staging Recovery have previously gained a lot from Paul’s input and this opportunity will enable that relationship to flourish. We are excited to see what we will create. It’s a fantastic opportunity for the group to spread their wings and share the stage at the Hippodrome.” Emma Smallman

Tickets are £10 (£6 con)

Available from: online  see eflyer above.

About Geese Theatre:

Geese Theatre Company is a team of theatre practitioners who present interactive performances and facilitate drama-based group work with individuals who are at risk of offending or who have offended, other vulnerable or marginalised groups and those who work with them. The company works nationally and internationally using theatre and drama to enable choice, personal responsibility and change.

http://www.geese.co.uk/

TEDx Liverpool
June 22nd, 2018

Hooking up with angels – TEDx Liverpool – 17th June 2018

Linda Lewis

Amid the chaos and confusion of my spare room, a place reflecting the sometimes unmanageability of my life, is a large polystyrene R.

I don’t know what I am going to do with it. I have vague notions of painting it and creating an artistic masterpiece of epic proportions, to display in an already too messy house. For the moment it nestles amongst the jumble of detritus slowly taking over the room and sidling up to items as disparate as a headboard for a single bed and a Christmas jumper belonging to my dog Stan.

This R is my souvenir from TEDx Liverpool, at which Fallen Angels Liverpool Group performed on Sunday 17th June.

It was my first performance with the group, since dancing in Liverpool Cathedral just over a year before and I had missed the camaraderie which comes with a shared purpose, not to mention the sheer adrenaline filled buzz of performing on stage in front of an audience,

Eight hundred people were ticketed to attend the TED talk and we were honoured to find out that we were sharing the stage with a rocket scientist and an acclaimed poet, amongst others.

We were performing at The Conference Centre, next to The Echo Arena and when I arrived, I shared a few moments with Ivonne and Andy, whilst waiting for others to arrive.

The River Mersey stretched out before us like a restless giant, reaching out to Birkenhead on its opposite bank, an imposing sight, reflecting the sheer majesty of the place and the occasion.

Having met up with Paul and some of the others, we collected wristbands and went upstairs to register.

Coffee and tea awaited us and it was while I was pouring myself a very welcome cuppa that I bumped into Lemn Sissay, the poet, another of the speakers at TEDx Liverpool. He didn’t remember, but I had the privilege to have been tutored by him on an Arvon writing course, some years ago.

Following refreshment, we were shown to our dressing room, which we shared briefly with some of the other speakers, before being given a room of our own. This caused some controversy, but it provided us with space to share some spiritual time together.

A platter of delicious food had been laid out in the room next to ours and we all tucked in. There was then a window for the taking of photographs, for bonding, relaxing and watching other speakers.

It was Ivonne and Kerry’s first performance with Fallen Angels and what a venue! Paul said that this was probably the biggest audience   we’d danced for, so all kudos to them!  Ben from the Chester group was on hand to support us and also the lovely Andy Miller, so it felt very much like home.

Paul was the penultimate speaker to take the stage and talked eloquently about Fallen Angels Dance Theatre and the work that they do. He was inspirational as always and his passion and enthusiasm, in both the words that he spoke and the fervency with which he delivered them were transparent to all.

Following Paul’s speech, it only remained for the angels to perform. I could feel the familiar fluttering of my heart against my ribcage and the tingling in my arms, as the music started and Ian began his powerful solo.

In seconds I was out there, we were all out there and it was as exhilarating as ever to be doing this again, to be performing with my fellow travellers on the road to recovery and to be part of a piece that reflected Paul’s vision of hope for all those who having suffered the nightmare of addiction, aspired to wellness through creativity.

Thank you to my fellow angels for making that day in June a memorable experience for me and thank you Paul Bayes Kitcher and Claire Morris, for another chance to shine.

                                                   

Beautifully Broken
June 21st, 2018

Have you ever stepped into a place you’ve never been before, noticed a huddle of people in the corner chatting away? They stop as you walk in and look over? The most awkward of eye contact. Then the small talk begins, the ‘Hi, my name is’ over and over again. The hollow ‘how are you’ and ‘where are you from’ conversation. Many placements and new jobs feel like this on that first day.

But Fallen Angels was different. I was greeted with smiles, hugs and genuine conversation. I was greeted by everyone, embraced and welcomed. Almost instantly I felt part of the furniture, a part of the family. Valued.

Being a part of the Fallen Angels family has been an adventure of joy and discovery. One thing I admire is the authenticity of the group, the genuine concern for each other, and the love each member has for one another. There’s been times when I have been shocked at the stories, real life stories, which I’ve heard and heartbroken at watching those stories danced into motion. The most raw of emotion. The tears, the laughs, the dances. Each person dancing, sharing their story amongst others. To dance one joyous song, a journey of recovery, in support of all those in recovery.. everywhere.

A beautiful collaboration of genuine people, with real, raw stories to tell.

During my time with Fallen Angels, I was given the opportunity to dance alongside 7 others for the Queen and the Duchess of Sussex, representing them and all those who are supported and represented by them. Honoured.. Privileged.. Understatements. The lift in this dance particularly stood out. ‘Beautifully broken’ were the words Paul used. There’s something beautiful about being broken and something powerful and emotional in sharing that. Being a placement student with Fallen Angels has opened my eyes and deepened my understanding into what it means to be beautifully broken and I rejoice in knowing that I have shared this journey with those whom Fallen Angels support.

I will never forget the raw emotion poured into each dance by each member and the love, kindness and support they each showed. The work of Fallen Angels is inspirational and I leave as a placement student with invaluable experience and understanding, taking away more than I could have ever imagined.
Amy

Manchester Day Parade
June 21st, 2018

Earlier this year we received a request from Recovery Rhythms to dance as part of their drumming project in Manchester Day Parade on Sunday 17th June. 

Dancers from Fallen Angels in Chester, Leigh and Salford came together to dance in the parade, and you can see from the images how much fun they had. One dancer disclosed that she had never even seen a Parade before let alone dance in it… What an overwhelming experience!!!

We are so grateful for the invitation from the 50 strong drummers, who even made beautiful costumes that enhanced our moves, and gave us a real party feel. Who knows where Fallen Angels may pop up next!!!!

Image: Manchester Evening News 

The Lord Mayor of Manchester not only posed for a photo opportunity with us, but also joined in our freestyle moment.. Fantastic and exciting times for our Angels!!!

A Royal Visit
June 21st, 2018

Fallen Angels Dance Theatre performed for Her Majesty The Queen and Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex at the Official Opening of Storyhouse on Thursday 14th June 2018.

What an amazing and enthralling experience for all. Members of our Chester and Liverpool recovery community groups performed in “The Kitchen” area, whilst Paul and Claire introduced the Royal visitors to our unique dance theatre company that transforms the lives for people in recovery from addiction and mental health in the local areas.

photo credit: Ant Clausen

“Dark Night Ends” a new and powerful film! by Badkamra
May 1st, 2018

A short powerful film that gives an insight into working with people in recovery from addiction and mental health which demonstrates the power that dance and performance can have to transform lives.

“What I am going to take away from this performance is… knowing that dance or creativity in general is form of healing… knowing that is something I want to lean on for the rest of my life.” Audience member

 

ember

TEDx Fallen Angels goes live!!
April 6th, 2018

We are so excited to announce that you can now view our TEDx talk online here is the link: https://youtu.be/O20vpxeLtCM

Thanks you University of Chester for organising this event and helping us to reach out to the TED community..

Here are some images captured on the day

 

New Project at Turnpike Gallery
March 29th, 2018

Expression Leigh has a new project after Easter. Exploring and responding to their new exhibition by Artist Mary Griffiths.

“Darkness and brilliance, the intense colours of engine and landscape, the steady work of a wild beehive – all shape the art that Griffiths shows here.” https://www.theturnpike.org.uk/

Dance Artists from Fallen Angels Dance Theatre will facilitate the participants to respond to what they see and feel from the art work to explore creativity and movement.

There is only 10 places available for this unique project. Contact Fallen Angels for more information.

Lights, Camera, Action!
January 26th, 2018

On Tuesday 19th December 2017, I came into the studio at Storyhouse in Chester to participate in research with professional dance artist Nicolette Whitley and our director Paul Bayes Kitcher. The multi-million pound theatre and cinema complex is now home to FADT, as we are Dance Company in Residence.

We were asked to bring a selection of performance-appropriate garments, as alongside our physical exploration, we were to be photographed by company collaborator, the highly talented photographer and Photoshop whizz, Zac Sargent. Paul had shown me some images Zac had captured of members of other FADT community groups. His knack for image manipulation is phenomenal. There is something beautiful, powerful and emotive about his work. I was very much looking forward to what we could create together.

We met in the cafe downstairs and then proceeded to the theatre / studio space upstairs. Essentially a large, black cube with a glossy, tar-like floor, this was to be our laboratory for the day. As is commonplace, we huddled in the centre of the room on the floor. Paul discussed his plan for the day, we were to explore the physicality of compulsion. Ostensibly, this was for a forthcoming project this year, in which we will be creating an installation for Hooked, an addiction-themed exhibit for the Science Museum in London. Paul showed us some footage on YouTube of choreographer Marco Goecke’s work for Netherlands Dance Theatre as part of his research. Entitled Wir sagen uns Dunkles, Nicolette and I watched transfixed as the dancers convulsed, twitched and contorted. This was to be our starting point. We proceeded with a yoga warm up, always one of my favourite ways to commence working. In essence it feels like placing one’s body through a laundry mangle of yesteryear, wringing out every last trace of stress and tension, enabling us to commence our process from a place of serenity and spiritual connection.

Paul positioned Nicolette and myself in front of a large projection screen while technicians squirrelled away mysteriously behind the confines of their glass-walled domain above us. He instructed us to keep our bodies tightly together. We were to move around each other, whilst retaining the majority of physical contact. Of late, Paul has been fascinated with the concept of imagining movement as an internal action. He will direct us, encouraging us to explore what movement would be like if it were led by the neck, the rib cage, the hip, pelvis or elbow. Namely, parts of the body one might not normally conceive of moving from. Here, in the studio, my body is glued to Nicolette’s. We in turn, contort, twist, shake and shatter, while Paul observes. It is almost as if we are some sort of conjoined monstrosity from a Victorian sideshow. Or perhaps a Rubix cube, turning one way, then another and another, constantly striving to arrive at the desired combination.

After a few hours of exploration, Paul has provided various elements of feedback. “It looks better when your bodies are connected tightly at the beginning. Move very subtly at first and build it up as you go. Towards the end it looks good when you make the movements very exaggerated.” We head locally to Pret a Manger for a refuel and then return to collaborate with Zac, our man with the magic lens. Paul asks me to show Zac some inspiration images I have collated for Dark Night Ends. Claire Morris, wife of Paul and our collective brain and project manager, was most insistent that we strive to achieve a lighter aesthetic and ambience with this piece.

Paul had asked me to start collating visual information to share. I had digested information Paul had shared with me regarding the soul leaving the body. I considered what Dark Night Ends meant to me visually. Initially, the title had stemmed from an interview I had read with the philosopher and renowned writer on spiritual affairs, Eckhart Tolle. He had been discussing a spiritual term The Dark Night of The Soul. Discussing how phases of utter hardship and despair can precede phenomenal spiritual breakthroughs in which one has a re-birth of sorts, effectively shifting the landscape and meaning of one’s life and sense of self exponentially.

I cherry picked some of the most relevant images to show to Zac. We donned our performance outfits, Nicolette in a body-hugging scarlet sheath (literally the Scarlet Woman). I look like Neo from the matrix in in a black wet look PVC top and sprayed on grey denim. We reenacted some of the choreography we had been developing earlier in the day, all the while Zac has his expert lens directed at us, clicking away. We explore some other poses, individually and as a duo.

At the end of the day we are truly spent and travel on to Lark Lane with Phillip David Ashby, longterm company member, prestigious honorary award recipient, possessor of a First Class degree in performance, clown and resident “camp tramp” (he earned that moniker with his star turn in Hell Can Wait), to treat ourselves to a festive company meal at upscale Thai eatery, Chilli Banana. After Christmas, Paul asked me to liaise with Zac to share some of my research to assist in the development of our promotional images. True to form he hasn’t disappointed. He took the visuals of a starry night sky at dawn I had provided, superimposed an arresting image he took of Nicolette and I dancing in the studio, added some grass, sharpened things a tad, played with the colours, tones and scale – and voila, our Dark Night Ends promotional poster was born. This was the first poster I have been featured on during my time working with the company, which has spanned the evolution of service-user, apprentice dancer and now freelance professional artist. Every milestone in a person’s life is becomes a poignant memory and is a source of humble pride. This poster is more than a logistical piece of marketing to me. It is more like a cherished postcard or polaroid, a loving reminder of how much this once “little-boy-lost” has grown – and just how far he has travelled.

– Ian Brown

FREE Performances: Dark Night Ends
January 25th, 2018

Dark Night Ends is a dance theatre performance with live dance, spoken word and real life authentic stories of recovery from addiction – a thought provoking and imaginative juxtaposition between Life on highs to high on life” (Jo Fallen Angels participant 2017)
With an interactive discussion post performance this project is the culmination, of a project where Fallen Angels Dance Theatre (FADT) set out to create a performance that explores new approaches to retelling recovery stories through dance theatre with performers from the local community including Tom Harrison House and The Spider Project taking to the stage with Fallen Angels Dance Theatre.
We hope you’ll join us!!

Fallen Angels Dance Theatre : Dark Night Ends

Garret Theatre, Storyhouse, Chester, Monday 12th February,1pm

To book: https://www.storyhouse.com/ 01244 409 113 (option #1)

Pilgrim Arts Centre, Birkenhead, Tuesday 13th February 2018, 7pm

To book: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/dark-night-ends-tickets-41236988944

Capstone Theatre, Liverpool, Thursday 15th February 2018, 6.45pm

To book: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/dark-night-ends-tickets-40782965949

Admission: Free *Please note there will be charitable collections at each event.

AGM notice
October 5th, 2017

We will be holding our Annual General Meeting of Fallen Angels Dance Theatre North West:

Thursday 19th October
1-2pm
Capstone building second floor number 207
Liverpool Hope University Creative Campus,
Shaw Street,
Liverpool,
L6 1HP

All Welcome

A journey to a new beginning.
August 2nd, 2017

The results are in, 27th of June 2017…. To my surprise I had graduated with a first class degree, in dance, drama and theatre studies from Liverpool Hope University. I realised all the stress, pain and hard work had pai

Photo: Andrew Millar

d off. I felt I had achieved the impossible! I had to take note that for someone who had never believed in his self, I had spent three years learning, developing and understanding myself, pushing myself forward, failing and picking myself up to move on in life and find out that it is possible to change and achieve. I had to go through hard times and never give up, but boy there were times when I wanted to! To say I did it all on my own would be a lie, as I had great support from the Hope University Creative Campus staff (all of who I hounded on a regular basis), Joel Petrie (dyslexic guru) my family, my partner Sarah and the Fallen Angels family, all of whom I will always be grateful to. I will say I am very proud of myself and what I have achieved. I also gained another surprise at my graduation, I received the Liz Bruen prize for the best performing student in dance, what a great honour to add to my self-belief and achievements, and I was over the moon with gratitude. I am feeling happy that I have accomplished so much, though faith, pain and hard work. We can all gain though perseverance, action and strength in one’s self, if we need help just ask.

I really began my journey from a rehab in Warrington, weekly sessions with Fallen Angels, from a quiet, fearful, full of self-pity man to reasonably confident person. Looking back over the five years, from where I was to where I am now, all I have achieved has not been easy, (I am still troubled with fear and self-pity, but it does get easier). I have felt challenged at many a corner, but the drive, passion and love I have for an art in performance has spurred me on. Well, that and an amazing group of people who have pushed, helped and told me the truth when I need it, has all contributed to this stage in my life. Thank you, you know who you are.

What next? I hear ask… The plan is to hopefully continue to work with Fallen Angels Dance Theatre, for as long as they will have me! But also so to make my own work in whatever way that comes. I would like to develop my skills as an artist and workshop facilitator. To possibly work in the mental health sector and with young people. Evidently I am beginning a new chapter in this life I have, I have no idea what wonders lay before me. I am up for the challenge, and will see what comes my way. I really hope that my journey can help inspire others to not give up and push on to achieve their goals.

Philip Ashby  2/8/2017 

Dancing through the wilderness
July 11th, 2017

Liverpool Anglican Cathedral is a spectacularly beautiful building and to be asked to perform here is an absolute privilege. To walk within this magnificent space is awe inspiring. I feel tiny, dwarfed by the sheer size of the place and there  are moments, during rehearsals when I feel as though I have literally stepped into Heaven, the hypnotic voices of the choirs, are as seraphs in a celestial wonderland.

I am here because Fallen Angels have been invited to be part of a new piece of choral theatre, created by John Browne and Jen Hayes. It is a piece about the nature of spirituality and ‘tells the universal story of the quest for meaning in a secular age.’ It is about a man, who leaves his home and family, venturing into the wilderness, in search of meaning. The theme is one with which the angels are familiar, deeply resonating with our own journeys through addiction to recovery, and one which reflects the human condition as a whole.

The piece brings together several choirs, made up of Liverpool Cathedral Youth Choir, Up for Arts and Voice Pops Community Choirs, and singers from Genie in the Gutter, Tom Harrison House and the Liverpool Iranian Community. Choreography for the piece is by Jo Blowers, Mary Prestige and the lovely Paul Bayes Kitcher. My fellow dancers, Phil Ashby, Andy Miller, Ian Brown, Paula Patterson and Keith Tucker are a warm and enthusiastic  bunch and I feel comfortable and happy working with them. Sadly, Kirstie Burton, who was part of our piece, is unable to dance with us, because of a back injury, but promises to be in the audience, sharing in the spiritual atmosphere and camaraderie of the event.

Each day for a week, I trek from Liverpool Central Station, up St James’s Mount, to where the cathedral towers majestically, above the city. I cannot believe my stamina, especially as it is only fifteen months since my second knee replacement. During rehearsals, we run and I fall, but I am made of tough stuff and the only part of me I hurt, is my little finger.

I am in awe of the sound produced by the solo singers and the choirs, the melody of their voices enhanced by the acoustics of the building. Closing my eyes, I can imagine this to be a host of angelic beings serenading the way to Heaven. Opening them, I am transfixed by the intricate beauty and vivid colours of the stained glass windows. The reverence I feel is breathtaking.

I am excited to be part of this piece, especially as I am making my acting debut. It is scary at first and well out of my comfort zone, to have to laugh like Bertha Mason in Jane Eyre, but we have been working with Jo Blowers and she tells me to commit to it, so that’s what I try to do.

It is exhilarating working with Paul, Jo and my fellow Fallen Angels, to create the movement for this performance. I especially enjoy the work my peers do, that employs the use of chairs as props. Again, for this section of the dance, I have to wear my acting hat, to become a menacing authority figure. I enjoy playing a villain, so this suits me well.

Phil Ashby is phenomenal as the protagonist of the piece and his duet with Ian Brown, who portrays a transformative angel, is mesmerising, especially against the backdrop of the cathedral.

We perform over two nights, to appreciative audiences. The lighting is soft and blue, exuding an atmosphere of presence and holiness. The voices of the solo singers have a supernatural quality and seem to emanate from the walls themselves, beautiful and ethereal.

As always, when performing with Fallen Angels, I experience an explosion of adrenaline. It is even more rewarding to be part of something bigger, a piece of theatre involving people from a variety of backgrounds. The theme of the performance, brought together by John and Jen, speaks to the lost soul within us; that which yearns to reach out and connect to others, the searcher on a quest for enlightenment and the spirit that understands that we are all one and part of a divine power that unites us.

The finale is a moving composition of voice and breath, which follows ‘The River.’ Our protagonist becomes vulnerable, when he divests himself of his clothes and is lifted and carried in procession. The choirs and Fallen Angels join together for this final vocal performance, conducted, so expertly by John Browne. We take our bow and enjoy the rapt reception we receive from the audience.

It is another successful gig for Fallen Angels, and a spellbinding experience overall. Thank you to everyone involved, the talented choirs, composers and choreographers and to my fellow dancers, who have helped to make more happy memories to sew into the tapestry of life.

Linda Lewis

10.7.17

Through the Wilderness
April 27th, 2017

Fallen Angels Liverpool will perform within “Through the Wildnerness” A new piece of choral theatre, created by John Browne and Jen Heyes, Through the Wilderness is an exploration of nature of spirituality and tells the universal story of the quest for meaning in a secular age.

on 16/17 May at the Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool.

“A man leaves his home, his family, all that’s familiar to him. He wanders out into the wilderness in search of something he can’t name, something authentic – something true.”

For more information log onto http://www.liverpoolcathedral.org.uk/114/section.aspx/108/through_the_wilderness

NOW Dance Platform 4th May 2017
April 27th, 2017

Fallen Angels Chester project Building Recovery will be performing at University of Chester for Cheshire Dance’s NOW Dance Platform on 4th May at 7.15pm please see attached

Fallen Angels seeks New Board Members
January 20th, 2017

Fallen Angels are currently looking for additional Directors/Trustees to join our Board who share our ambitions and have the passion to drive our future development forward.

We would especially welcome applications from creative practitioners, as well as other professionals who have a range of skills, experience and knowledge, in particular: 

  • Addiction and Recovery
  • Fundraising & Income Generation
  • Charity
  • Safeguarding
  • Research on addiction or cultural policy

To Apply: Please email claire@fallenangelsdancetheatre.co.uk for an application form. 

Closing date for applications: Friday 3rd February 2017

AGM
January 19th, 2017

Fallen Angels Dance Theatre North West

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING 

31st January 2017

Capstone Building (room number 207)

Liverpool Hope University Creative Campus

17 Shaw Street Liverpool L6 1HP

1-2pm

Come along and find out more about Fallen Angels inspiring activity in 2015-16.

Everyone Welcome – Free of Charge

contact Claire for further details

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR
January 4th, 2017

Fallen Angels are looking forward to an exciting year ahead.. 

Upon Awakening has already SOLD OUT in February at Royal Opera House.. tickets are still available for our performances in the North West.. grab one whilst you can!!  For more details: http://www.fallenangelsdancetheatre.co.uk/events/

We have  lots of inspirational projects happening in the community this year.. including “Making your Mark” in collaboration with Cartwheel Arts http://www.cartwheelarts.org.uk/ at the newly relaunched Turnpike Gallery in Leigh http://www.theturnpike.org.uk/fallen-angels

Bags and Boxes Building Recovery project will be exploring creating and moving through spaces in Chester. We will be performing with Lila Dance at St Mary’s Centre in Chester in February. http://www.liladance.co.uk/projects/the-deluge/

Year 2 of Pinpricks of Light commences in Summer exploring recovery stories taking us into Recovery Month in September. Log on to view last years documentary: https://vimeo.com/191706553

With plenty more developments in the pipeline.

If you are interested in finding out more about our projects, whether you want to take part or follow our progress on the road to transformation contact: http://www.fallenangelsdancetheatre.co.uk/contact/

 

 

Royal Opera House tickets go live
November 25th, 2016

15156888_1235192419889050_662574716735208334_oWe are super excited to announce that the tickets for our performance in February 2017 at Royal Opera House are now live and available to buy on;

http://www.roh.org.uk/productions/upon-awakening-by-fallen-angels-dance-theatre

Last year we sold out 2 weeks before so don’t delay and book today!

 

Upon Awakening update
November 3rd, 2016

a5-fa-ua-autumn-tour_lowryFallen Angels have been busy with rehearsal preparation ready for our performances this month at University of Chester: www.kingswaytheatre.co.uk and at the Lowry the following week: http://www.thelowry.com/event/upon-awakening1

Its an exciting time with our community groups rehearsing and the main production featuring new dancers, learning, creating, building a rapport with the other dancers.

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Fallen Angels has a family approach to all the work that we do to give you the intense emotive journey that we hope our audiences experience.

Our intention at both performances is to hold a question and answer session post performance so that you can gain a greater insight into the production and our dancers. Everyone has a story of overcoming, and rebuilding

We are really looking looking forward to welcoming you into our world!!!

NEW film
October 25th, 2016

Hot off the press

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We have a new film charting the journey of our summer activity:  “Pinpricks of Light” performed at UK Recovery Walk 2016

Link to film: https://youtu.be/lsryODNX0Bs

Filmed by:  http://www.badkamra.co.uk/

Dancing their way through Recovery Month
September 27th, 2016

Fallen Angels Dance Theatre who aim to transform the lives of people struggling with addiction, has celebrated Recovery Month this September with a host of exciting events around the North West.

September has been established as Recovery Month in the UK, an opportunity to raise awareness of the Recovery community, challenge stigma and celebrate it’s achievements.

“Recovery month helps us get out and about with workshops and performances with the purpose to dispel the myths and stigma surrounding addiction. Our message is clear people do overcome addiction and transform, turn their lives around” says Fallen Angels Claire Morris.

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For Fallen Angels the celebrations began in Chester City Centre for Cheshire Recovery Walk performing to hundreds of people in Grosvenor Park on 4th September with local residents in recovery performing alongside testimonies of people that overcome the adversity of addiction.

Next stop the Turnpike Gallery in Leigh (Greater Manchester) with a open workshop and art exhibition for Wigan’s Well Week.
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Members of Expression Leigh demonstrated how they express themselves through movement to enhance and support their recovery.

The highlight of the month was on 10th September at UK Recovery Walk at Select Stadium in Halton where thousands of people attended the day from across the country to show solidarity for recovery – Fallen Angels performed “Pin Pricks of Light” which had been in development since May thanks funding from Arts Council England. Involving professional dancers, adults and young people who had all been affected by addiction, coming together to demonstrate how overcoming addiction not only benefits the individual but the whole family. The group even had a special day of training with World renowned choreographer Russell Maliphant whose company is based at London’s Sadlers Wells.

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” This powerful performance set the tone for a community finding it’s feet positively making an impact and demonstrating that in the face of adversity recovery and change is not only possible but dynamic.” Claire went on the explain.

The charity is looking forward to more performances later in the year at The Lowry, Salford Quays and University of Chester. They hope that their message of recovery reaches out and gives hope to those who still suffer from addiction.

AUDITION
September 15th, 2016

Expressions of Interest:
Female Dancer Required for Fallen Angels Dance Theatre

Fallen Angels Dance Theatre are auditioning for their
Autumn 2016 /Spring 2017 tour of “Upon Awakening”
Performances in the North West and
Royal Opera House Clore Studio.

We are looking for: 1 female dancer “Upon Awakening” with at least 3 years professional experience. Strong classical and contemporary technique, partnering and/or pas de deux essential.

The audition will take place in the North West and by invitation only. Please send images and CV to paul@fallenangelsdancetheatre.co.uk Deadline: 30th September 2016

Upon Awakening Rehearsals:
Week of 31st October, 7th- 8th November
Performance 9th and 16th November at Chester University and The Lowry Salford
March 2017 – Tour rehearsal and performance dates TBC

Please send images and CV to paul@fallenangelsdancetheatre.co.uk
This is a paid opportunity.
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Pin Pricks of Light at UK Recovery Walk
September 9th, 2016

Fallen Angels from all our groups will be performing “Pin Pricks of Light” in front of 7000 people in recovery who will travel from across the Uk to attend the event in Widnes on Saturday 10th September.

We will perform on the main stage 11.45am.

“The piece has been developed over 3 months with support and inspiration from London based choreographer Russell Maliphant.”

“It’s the first time we have had young people that have experienced the joys of recovery in the performance. Come and see these inspirational people dance their stories of adversity and hope” says Artistic Paul Bayes Kitcher

The event is free of charge and our performance has been made possible through the support of Arts Council England and local trusts and foundations for which we are very grateful.

Pin Pricks of Light - photo: Andrew Millar

Pin Pricks of Light – photo: Andrew Millar

Leigh group get creative in the art gallery..
June 28th, 2016

Our project group in Leigh have started their project at the Turnpike in Leigh town centre this week. “Expression Leigh” have come together having participated in projects led by Fallen Angels. With funding from Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles and support from the Turnpike and Trust in Leigh The group are keen for others to get involved.

Leigh project at the Turnpike

Leigh project at the Turnpike


The group describe their activity as movement in recovery. “If I was to say to people you’re dancing I would clear the room!” Says Paul from Fallen Angels “we start by exploring people’s stories of recovery and addiction then see how that can be expressed through movement” ” I would describe it more like drama, and tai chi, it’s an opportunity for people to express themselves without having to talk about it, it can be very therapeutic”.

It’s not all serious though the group have lots of fun and laughter and are invited to join Fallen Angels for performances and events.

We are looking for people who are creative in recovery who would like to come along and experience a workshop. A fun, friendly group and an opportunity to explore your creativity in a very inspiring venue.

Lache based group call out to local community
June 28th, 2016

Fallen Angels Chester based project: “Bags and Boxes Building Recovery” funded Peoples Health Trust are creating a performance: “What is being stolen?” to show at the Lache Fun day organised by Sanctuary Housing on Saturday 16th July, and they are hoping to get the local community involved.

Bags and Boxes Building Recovery in Chester

Bags and Boxes Building Recovery in Chester

Their production is based on a real life local story of overcoming adversity. Many of the themes that come through the story resonate with the group – experiences barriers and challenges, breaking the cycle, and finding recovery from within.

The group meets on Mondays 12.30-2.30pm at Lache Community centre, where they will be working with local community dancers from 12.30-1.30pm then everyone is welcome to drop in 1.30-2.30pm to help with the development, props, art, drama or bring their enthusiasm.. No experience necessary.

Claire says “we are so excited about this project, there are some amazing people and stories within a local community and we are delighted to have opportunity and celebrate through performances. The group hopes that this activity will bring people together and more understanding can lead to greater community cohesion.”The group is looking to create new partnerships within the local community and can offer workshops and performances during the 2 years so urge people interested in exploring local issues.

If you would like further information about the project and performances contact Claire on: e: claire@fallenangelsdancetheatre.co.uk / m: 07801 478 548

Funding Update
November 10th, 2015

In Creation

Fallen Angels Dance Theatre are celebrating the announcement that they have achieved Arts Council funding to enable them to perform a full length work “Upon Awakening” in November at The Lowry Salford Quays, The Capstone Theatre Liverpool and The Royal Opera House Clore Studio.

“This is a big achievement for Fallen Angels. At a time when funding for the Arts is is receiving cuts and competition for funding is high, we are feeling really blessed and delighted that the artistic quality and vision for our work is being recognised.” explains Claire Morris from Fallen Angels.

Artistic Director Paul Bayes Kitcher has begun the intensive period of exploring and developing the dance theatre production, and with the support of The Lowry is working in the prestigious venue’s studios with professional dancers and people in recovery from addiction who have developed their skills and interests in the arts through our programmes.

“This funding will enable us to work with some wonderful people mentoring and supporting us – world renowned movement director & choreographer Kate Flatt (Les Miserable, Turandot, Dr Faustus, Fiddler on the Roof, Chaplin and Theatre)” says Paul Bayes Kitcher, Artistic Director of Fallen Angels who aim to transform the lives of people struggling with addiction.

Fallen Angels productions integrates people in recovery from addiction to create a fully inclusive authentic theatre production. Local performer Damian Stewart will again be a focal point in the production the aim of which sets out to break down the stigma surrounding addiction and recovery.

During the first phase of the creation performed at The Royal Opera House Claire Cohen https://balletbichon.wordpress.com wrote: “The message of the evening was that although the journey into recovery is not easy, the physical and emotional expressiveness of dance can help even the unlikeliest of people get through their moments of darkness and step into the light. Or even the limelight.”

For more information and to book: “Upon Awakening” see the Events page..

Russell Brand Book Launch
October 19th, 2014

Performing at Russell Brand’s book launch “REVOLUTION”.

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