Community and Connection

South London Drop-in Drama

Supporting the recovery of people affected by addiction and serious mental illness.

South London Drop-in Drama is an initiative of Outside Edge Theatre Company designed to address the needs of service users affected by addiction who have serious mental illness. Although most of their service users are in recovery from drug, alcohol or gambling addictions, they also welcome people to join activities who are at risk of harmful addictive behaviour due to mental ill-health, being vulnerably housed or other social/health reasons. A number of current participants are also family members, carers or champions for those in active addiction or recovery. The only requirement to participate is that people are abstinent on the day of the activity.

South London Drop-in Drama aims to reduce social isolation and loneliness, improve mental and physical health, strengthen financial resilience and encourage community integration and de-stigmatising recovery. Ultimately, a combination of these benefits helps to prevent relapse in their community of service users.

Arts for health and wellbeing

There is compelling evidence on the role of the arts in improving health and wellbeing for people affected by addiction and serious mental illness. Benefits include improvements in perceived control and reduced cravings. Engaging or participating in the arts reduces stress hormones and improves brain function, reduces mental distress, depression and anxiety and helps to change participants’ views of themselves, enhancing self-worth.

Training of existing service users as volunteers for this project will help to enhance their feelings of wellbeing and are essential to building “Recovery Capital”, which includes improving a person’s finances, housing, relationships and cultural identity. The weekly group aims to reduce social isolation and loneliness and help vulnerable people to join a Recovery Community that offers long term peer support.

Building trust through shared experience

Outside Edge’s work is trauma-informed with a majority of their facilitators having lived experience of addiction. This has been fundamental to building trust with service users which initially develops through the shared enjoyment of participating in the activities together and over time leads to participants feeling able to be open with problems like low mood, depression, accommodation issues, which are addressed through effective person-centred and holistic Pastoral Care and Wraparound Support.

Interested persons can self-refer to the activity or be referred from NHS social prescribing link workers, statutory drug and alcohol treatment providers, GPs, social workers and other voluntary sector organisations. For more information visit

This generous grant from Maudsley Charity ensures that vulnerable South London service users can continue to access our unique arts-based mental health support group and maintain a local Recovery Community, which is essential for preventing relapse. With drug and alcohol-related deaths at an all-time high in England and Wales, and with public health funding stretched from the Covid-19 pandemic, this grant is providing a lifeline for both our work in South London and also local service users.

Matt Steinberg

Artistic Director & CEO