It may seem surprising that Londoner Shiv came to acting when he was in the depths of an addiction and dependency problem. But it was the first step of many that lead to his recovery and the happy, healthy life he leads today.
Find out more about Shiv's social prescribing story
Whilst detoxing in Chelsea and Westminster hospital for 10 days, he was visited by Outside Edge Theatre Company – who specialise in creating productions with people affected by substance abuse. No fan of theatre and having never harboured dreams of becoming an actor, he surprised himself when the idea sparked his curiosity and decided to go along to his first session.
Shiv said: “It was different to me, it was really outside my comfort zone. It felt a bit strange playing games and drama based activities. But those two hours were like an escape... You're being creative, you're having fun and you're learning new things.”
He continued with the workshops and was soon offered a part in one of the plays written by the company’s founder. From there, it snowballed and ten years down the road Shiv is one of the facilitators at Outside Edge and an NHS Recovery Day Programme Manager.
Drawing on his own experiences, Shiv is able to bring acting and creative expression to people who may never have been given the opportunity to do those things before. Many of the people who come to him now have been socially prescribed – referred to the workshops either by a doctor or a link worker.
It’s stories like Shiv’s that show that sometimes it’s non-medical interventions that can make the most fundamental difference. If you are interested to know more about the groups and organisations like Outside Edge in your area, ask your GP practice for a referral to a link worker.