Addiction recovery group to perform in Dumbarton as part of drama therapy programme

Mark MacNicol (right) and Mark and Jason MacNicol as children.

By Lucy Ashton

A group of people battling drug and alcohol addiction will perform in Dumbarton next month as they celebrate a major achievement in their recovery journey.

The participants, who all attend Creative Change Collective’s Recovering Voices programme in the town, will host a special script reading event at Denny Civic Theatre on May 9.

They have been taking part in the charity’s 12-week project, which is designed to support people in their recovery and will culminate in the on-stage performance.

It will be followed by a discussion and question and answer session, and friends, family and members of the local community are invited to attend for free.

Participants in West Dunbartonshire are all in either residential recovery at Safe as Houses in Clydebank or have been working with the community-based Alternatives project.

Recovering Voices was devised by Creative Change Collective project director Mark MacNicol, a writer and film director and lost his brother Jason, 30, to a heroin overdose 15 years ago.

The programme is funded by the Scottish Government through the Corra Foundation and is also available to those in the recovery community in Glasgow, Saltcoats and Erskine.

The Dumbarton group’s performance will be an opportunity for participants to celebrate their individual and group achievements with loved ones.

Creative Change Collective, formerly Street Cones, uses film and theatre type activities to help those on the charity’s programmes achieve more positive outcomes in their lives.

The sessions use a unique ‘anonymous drama’ model where participants only use first names, and do not reveal which parts of their story are fiction or real life.

Most of Creative Change Collective’s work since starting in 2014 has focussed on adults and young people in or at risk of entering the justice system.

A similar performance of the Glasgow Recovering Voices group at Oran Mor last year was attended by the then Drugs Policy Minister Angela Constance.  It is hoped the events will give support staff and policymakers valuable insights from people with lived experience.

Mark MacNicol said:  “We were delighted to roll our Recovering Voices programme out in Dumbarton this year following the programme’s success in Glasgow.

“The sessions designed to support people in their recovery through drama therapy type activities.

“They use our unique anonymous drama model which we have found allows people to express themselves fully and can be less emotionally triggering.

“We would love it if members of the local community were to join us at the event on May 9, which will be a real celebration of all of our participants’ achievements.

“I have been working with Creative Change Collective, formerly Street Cones, for a few years  – mostly in the justice space – and have seen the incredible results which we want to keep building on.”

Meanwhile, today (Tuesday) Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton criticised the Scottish Government over its failure to reduce drug deaths as a new report revealed that almost 100 Scots per month are still dying from suspected drug deaths.

New figures published by Public Health Scotland today confirm that “Suspected drug deaths remained high and broadly stable from December 2022 to the end of February 2023, averaging 96 deaths per month”.

Mr Cole-Hamilton said: “These figures show that Scotland’s drug death catastrophe continues to rumble on, cutting short lives and devastating families. This is the appalling legacy of Nicola Sturgeon’s government.

“The Scottish Government has made a series of grand proclamations but it is still struggling to make a dent in drugs deaths.

“Scottish Liberal Democrats are calling for the immediate introduction of specialist drug commissions, the decriminalisation of drug misuse and for safe consumption spaces to be available across the country.  The Scottish Government needs to offer families more than cheap talk.”

Leave a Reply