I have just had the great pleasure of spending the afternoon on a houseboat in Chelsea at an intimate showing by Outside Edge of excerpts from Jerusalem, performed by Mark Rylance, and three others from this pioneering theatre company.
Outside Edge is the brainchild of Phil Fox who, with the vital support of David Charkham and trustees Simon Woodruffe of Yo! and Led Zepplin’s Jimmy Page, takes productions that are written to mirror the audience’s story, into treatment and prison settings. The way it works is in a way like an extended role-play, so that the audience is encouraged to interact with the actors and affect the process and ending by responding to the script and action as the performance goes along.
Role-play is a fundamental part of the programme at Charter and for my work in schools, so that a person inhabits the other persons skin, walks for a moment in another persons shoes…you could call it momentary other centredness and it works like magic (most of the time!) Outside Edge does this in a structured way on a bigger scale, though it remains simple and personal, and very accessible.
Simon Woodruffe and Mark Rylance spoke with commitment and passion for a society where this kind of resource is available to everyone, and I echo this; access to the resources and benefits of recovery should not be marginalized to the world of severe addiction.
Prevention is better than cure, early intervention is key, and inspiration and education can play a huge part in changing the direction of a young persons life. Outside Edge, like many of us in the recovery community, has a powerful resource at its fingertips with a much wider application than addiction. I am in no doubt that the 12 steps helped me to recover from completely losing hope when I fell foul of severe Rheumatoid Arthritis. There is so much more we can do with what we have if we all join hands and work together…I’m in…