for Arts
& Culture
Theatre | London

Outside Edge Theatre Company

London based Outside Edge Theatre Company (OETC) is the UK’s only theatre company and participatory arts charity focused on improving the lives of people affected by any form of addiction, including their families, carers and champions.

For the past twenty years OETC has produced theatre productions about issues relating to addiction, from substance misuse to problem gambling, and provided free drama workshops to help people make healthier choices and support their recovery maintenance.

Outside Edge Theatre Company

Outside Edge

Target Beneficiaries

OETC targets people affected by addiction and the wider community as a whole. They are focused on improving the lives of people affected by any form of addiction, including their families, carers and champions.

Inclusive weekly arts activities encourage beneficiaries to develop healthy habits, discover new talents and reclaim centre stage in their own lives. OETC also produce new writing and theatre to raise awareness of substance misuse and other addictions.


Founded in 1999 by Phil Fox, who was an actor and recovering heroin addict, the work of the company builds from Phil’s lived experience of theatre leading from addiction to recovery. The company continues to work from the premise that creative engagement and exploring complex issues through drama has the ability to bring about positive change in the lives of people affected by addiction and the wider community as a whole.

OETC’s free, peer-led drama activities work from an asset-based approach to reduce isolation, improve wellbeing and increase optimism, hope and enjoyment. These arts-based interventions promote the Five Ways to Wellbeing (be active, connect, take notice, keep learning and give) to help build Recovery Capital (the internal and external resources required to maintain recovery).

OETC provides personal, one-to-one Pastoral Care Support to empower service users to chart their own journey through Participation Pathways. This robust and holistic scheme includes progressing from participation in drop-in creative activities to advanced actor training and performance opportunities, free social activities, such as theatre trips and holiday social events, and volunteer and employment activities, such as peer mentoring, support facilitation and paid acting work.

OETC runs the Phil Fox Award for Playwriting, created to recognise original scripts looking at issues of addiction, by playwrights from all backgrounds and experience levels. The winner receives a £6,000 commission and mentorship from an award winning playwright.


With ongoing pastoral care and participation in OETC’s activities, service users learn coping strategies and changes in behaviours to reduce loneliness, improve physical and mental health, strengthen financial resilience, and reintegrate into the community. These outcomes support service users to accumulate Recovery Capital, which helps to prevent relapse or support harm reduction goals.




OETC won the National Campaign for the Arts 2020 Hearts for the Arts Award (Best Arts, Health and Wellbeing Project).


The work of Outside Edge changed my life as a man and a theatre artist. It proved to me that people can change and theatre can be a part of that.

Mark Rylance, OETC Patron

As Commissioners we have found that OETC’s approach is a unique model as a dedicated and continuing service for adults. It is a company that continues to grow and innovate and attracts a more diverse user group than national averages for people in treatment. The feedback from service users demonstrates that workshops are strengthening their recovery and meeting individual goals.

Hammersmith & Fulham Substance Misuse Commissioners


Funded by Local Authority, ACE, Garfield Weston, Lottery Community Fund, The Baring Foundation, London Community Foundation, and others.