TEDx Liverpool

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

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.

Manchester Day Parade

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

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