1st Edition

Messy Connections Creating Atmospheres of Addiction Recovery Through Performance Practice

By Cathy Sloan Copyright 2024

    This book examines performance practices that involve people in recovery from addiction, theorising such practices as recovery-engaged.

    Focusing on examples of practice from a growing movement of UK-based recovery arts practitioners and performers, it highlights a unique approach to performance that infuses an understanding of lived experiences of addiction and recovery with creative practice. It offers a philosophy of being in recovery that understands lived experience, and performance practice, as a dynamic system of interrelations with the human and nonhuman elements that make up the societal settings in which recovery communities struggle to exist. It thereby frames the process of recovery, and recovery-engaged performance, as an affective ecology – a system of messy connections. Building upon ideas from posthumanist research on addiction, cultural theory on identity and new materialist interpretations of performance practice, it considers how such contemporary theory might offer additional ways of thinking and doing arts practice with people affected by addiction. The discussion highlights the distinct aesthetics, ethics and politics of this area of performance practice.

    This study will be of great interest to students and scholars in Applied Theatre and Critical Arts and Mental Health studies.




    Introduction: Assembling Atmospheres of Recovery through Artistic Practice


    Chapter 1: Creating Spaces of Potentiality through Collaborative Theatre-making


    Chapter 2: Facilitating Recovery-engaged Performance Atmospheres


    Chapter 3: Objects of Addiction and Recovery in Artistic Practice


    Chapter 4: Place in Recovery-engaged Performances


    Chapter 5: Sustaining Recovery Connections through Creative Kinship


    Coda: Addiction Recovery Arts Network




    Cathy Sloan is a Senior Lecturer in Applied and Socially Conscious Theatre at the University of West London. She is co-founder of the Addiction-Recovery Arts network and Performing Recovery magazine. Her artistic practice specialises in a recovery-engaged ethos of collaborative theatre-making, specifically with addressing lived experiences addiction and associated wellbeing issues.