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Outside Edge Wins a 2020 Hearts for the Arts Award for Best Arts Project (Arts, Health and Wellbeing)!



  • Hammersmith & Fulham and Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea’s Outside Edge Theatre Company wins ‘Best Arts Project – Arts, Health and Wellbeing’ in the Hearts for the Arts Awards 2020
  • Judged by high-profile figures in the arts and sciences: Susie Dent, Gary Kemp, Julie Hesmondhalgh, Alom Shaha, Errollyn Wallen, Kirstie Wilson and Samuel West
  • Award to be presented by Samuel West at the Local Government Association’s Annual Culture and Tourism Conference 2020, on 2 March
  • Awards recognising UK’s unsung local heroes of community arts

The winners have been announced for the National Campaign for the Arts’ (NCA) Hearts For The Arts Awards 2020. The awards celebrate the unsung heroes of Local Authorities who are championing the arts, often within a climate of severe financial challenges.



After representatives from this year’s Hearts for the Arts partners created the shortlist, winners were selected by top arts industry experts and practitioners. Discussing Outside Edge Theatre Company these judges said:

‘Full marks in every category for this extraordinary company that doesn’t just improve lives but saves them. Far-reaching and ambitious in its remit, it has transformed the lives of people living with addiction and the subsequent poor mental health beyond measure. I wish every town, city, community in the country could offer what they do.’ – Julie Hesmondhalgh: actor, activist.

‘It’s a pity OETC seem to be so unique – clearly the service they provide would benefit more people if there were more projects like it.’ – Alom Shaha: Physics teacher, dad, author of Mr Shaha’s Recipes for Wonder.

‘OETC work successfully in an area that’s underfunded and often shunned. Often addicts do not have the family support group or the outlet to find their self-esteem again – these guys are providing that.’ – Gary Kemp: actor, musician, songwriter, founder member of Spandau Ballet.

This project fills me with joy and hope. Such a great force for good in people’s lives – reliable, challenging, inspiring, educating, and clearly in many cases, life-saving.’ – Samuel West, actor, director, Chair of the National Campaign for the Arts.

‘The highest praise for Hammersmith & Fulham, Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea for their support of this transformative company. Some of us, as actors, are lucky enough to know how being part of something bigger than yourself can change your world. We never want this feeling to be unique to actors. Outside Edge brings to those lowered and challenged by substance abuse the togetherness of rehearsal, the robust self-testing of creativity and the simple joy of performance; together they make a powerful, sustainable, important project.’ – Susie Dent: lexicographer, etymologist, host of Countdown’s ‘Dictionary Corner’.

‘There is such an authenticity to the work Outside Edge Theatre Company undertake – starting from their roots and culminating in the comments by participants. The model of peer mentors in particular appears to be a key to their success. Plus, raising a national conversation about issues around substance misuse through a script competition is a great next step and one which I know I’ll be following with interest.’- Kirstie Wilson: Kirklees Council, winner 2019 Hearts for the Arts Best Local Authority Arts Champion – Officer.

For more information on this project visit: arts-health-and-wellbeing-winner-outside-edge-theatre-company/

The National Campaign for the Arts present the Hearts For The Arts Awards each year. The awards are delivered by UK Theatre, in partnership with Culture Counts; the Local Government Association; Thrive; Theatre NI, Voluntary Arts Wales, Wales Council for Voluntary Action.

For the full list of winners visit

-Notes to editors:

  • Hearts For The Arts is a National Campaign for the Arts initiative, delivered by UK Theatre, in partnership with Culture Counts; the Local Government Association; Theatre NI; Thrive; Voluntary Arts Wales; and Wales Council for Voluntary Action.
  • The National Campaign for the Arts (NCA) is a charity and independent campaigning organisation, run by a board of volunteer trustees. They campaign for more investment in the arts, to improve the lives of everyone; and they champion those who make that happen.

    • UK Theatre is the UK’s leading theatre and performing arts membership organisation – promoting excellence, professional development, and campaigning to improve resilience and increase audiences across the sector.


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