– VAULT Festival 2022 has now been cancelled – TV star Alexander Vlahos, known for roles in beloved BBC drama Versailles and Merlin, will star in a darkly comic, tour-de-force solo show at VAULT Festival 2022. From Outside Edge Theatre Company, the UK’s only theatre company focusing on improving the lives of people with lived experience of addiction, Drift is all about drug and alcohol abuse, men’s mental health and grief. These are particularly relevant themes for today, as suicide remains the leading cause of death for men under 50, and drug and alcohol deaths have reached a 20 year high.
The dirty secret of dependency plagues Roger in his small hometown in Wales and leads him to what may literally be a dead end. When his best friend’s addiction gets out of hand, Roger must face his own demons and make the ultimate decision. Drenched in grief and toxic masculinity, Drift explores working class towns in Wales, where the closure of coal mining and other industries left poverty in its wake.
Directed by Outside Edge’s Artistic Director Matt Steinberg (Tumulus; Check-In/Check-Out), Drift is Kristian Phillips’ debut play and was a runner-up for Outside Edge Theatre Company’s inaugural Phil Fox Award for Playwriting. It will also be included in this year’s Plays from VAULT publication. Drift is kindly supported by Cockayne – Grants for the Arts and The London Community Foundation, and an Arts Council England project grant.
Director Matt Steinberg comments, I’m thrilled that Outside Edge Theatre Company can bring Drift to treatment facilities and VAULT Festival audiences. Kris’ poetic play humanizes the complicated experience of addiction and mental ill health at a time when deaths from drug and alcohol abuse and suicide rates amongst young men are at an all-time high in this country. As a runner-up in our inaugural script competition, The Phil Fox Award for Playwriting, this play stood out against 350 other submissions about stories related to addiction. I can’t wait to explore Drift with the superb Alexander Vlahos, who I have admired for a long time for his nuanced and sensitive portrayals of complicated characters. This production promises to be a funny, honest and heartfelt examination of a man’s life that is hanging in the balance.
Outside Edge is also bringing to VAULT Festival a collaborative piece about tall tales and the deceit that lives within our stories, especially in the world of addiction. All key creatives and performers in Barefaced have lived experience of substance misuse, addiction or mental ill health and use creativity and performance as a cornerstone in their recovery. By being on stage they challenge mainstream narratives about people who have been affected by addiction, which is more important now than ever before.
What happens when a web of lies unravel, and hard truths are all that remain? Directed by Hannah Hauer-King (The Funeral Director, Southwark Playhouse; Grotty, Breathe, Bunker Theatre), written by Jane Bodie (Women’s Prize for Playwriting shortlist, Hampstead Theatre, Melbourne Theatre Company), Barefaced is told by a group of bold, sometimes broken, but nevertheless brilliant characters who may not realise they are lying, or how much their lies could impact people they haven’t even met.
Hauer-King comments, Outside Edge is an organisation that is unique in its bringing together of aspiring performers and artists from the recovery community. I am thrilled to be working with The Company again in this co-created piece spearheaded by Jane Bodie, to explore the themes of lies and deceit and how they speak to issues surrounding addiction. Barefaced will be a show that has collaboration at its core, and promises to provide joy and humour, alongside more challenging subject matter.
Barefaced is also kindly supported by Cockayne Grants for the Arts and The London Community Foundation
Drift starring Alexander Vlahos is at VAULT Festival 1st – 6th February 2022.