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Friday, 22 October 2021
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Recovery arts communities unite for International Overdose Awareness Day

Throughout nine regional recovery arts organisations in seven UK cities (see full list below) came together to create a short film broadcast via social media on 31st August, Overdose Awareness Day.

Delivered by Brighton-based Small performance adventures, the project features over 60 individuals in recovery from addiction to drugs and alcohol, which came together to create the film that remembers those lost to overdose.

International Overdose Awareness Day is a global event each year that raises awareness of overdose and helps reduce the stigma of a drug-related death. It acknowledges the grief families and friends feel by remembering those who have died or had a permanent injury because of a drug overdose. It also aims to spread the message that overdose death is preventable through education and action.

Each year around 5000 people die due to drug overdose in the UK, often leaving loved ones with more questions than answers. Started in 2018 in Brighton and lead by participatory theatre company Small Performance Adventures, ‘Overdose Awareness Day Live’ has grown to include more locations each year. Demonstrating the scale and desire to mark the day around the UK.

Originally conceived as a series of pop-up performances across the country, the project has had to adapt over the last 18 months due to the impact of the coronavirus. However, overcoming this adversity and ensuring that Covid guidance is adhered to, the organisations participating in ‘Overdose Awareness Day Live’ have created a powerful and moving film that is sure to reach the hearts of anyone tuning in on 31st August.

Kate Lodge of small performance adventures said:

“This project is a powerful demonstration of what happens when people come together creatively to make art that expresses grief, anger and hope in response to people dying of overdoses. Through this work, we gather to remember, respect, reduce stigma and raise awareness through a powerful collective expression.”

Participant Richard Banks from Brighton said:

“It’s a privilege to be a part of the Overdose Awareness Day Live film this year.

“It seems more relevant now than ever with the increases in dependent drinking, relapse, and overdose during the Covid pandemic. It seems like we’re marking the day to remember more and more people, and it’s more important than ever to educate people.”

Participating organisations:

small performance adventures, Brighton

Our Space, Theatre Royal, Plymouth

Bristol Drugs Project, Bristol

Fallen Angels, Chester

TiPP, Manchester

The Mens Room, Manchester

Geese Theatre, Birmingham

Outside Edge Theatre Co., London

Edit Sweet, Brighton

We Are Not Saints, Brighton

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