Vita Nova means "New Life!"
(Image from 2019 production of the 'Wind of Change' by Sharon Muiruri Coyne....where the lost treasure is the gift of RECOVERY.)
Our 'Moving Forward Project'
We need support, please, to continue Vita Nova’s VITAL services. Vita Nova uses the ARTS, THEATRE in particular to work with people in recovery from drug and alcohol misuse including ex-rough sleepers, ex-prisoners, and challenging social economical backgrounds.
Vita Nova is DIVERSE
Throughout lockdown, we continued online via twice-weekly Zoom workshops
'The lockdown workshops were a lifeline! ‘ – David
‘Vita Nova’s a life changer.‘ – Tawa
Being part of Vita Nova really changes people’s lives:
Bartos had been homeless for two-to-three years. After being at a treatment centre, someone suggested he could join Vita Nova. He explains:
'Vita Nova helped my confidence. Back then I had problems talking to others. I was completely frozen in front of them, I was afraid of the judgment of others. At Vita Nova, I could be myself without any judgment. They helped me to talk to people and accept who I am.'
Bartos has thrived and is now in full-time employment.
At Vita Nova, participants discover hidden talents as they take part in all kinds of creative workshops . Alongside its flagship community theatre group, Vita Nova offers workshops in music, creative writing, textiles, and digital media.
Being part of Vita Nova builds participant’s self-worth, self-esteem within a safe, supportive, and caring environment.
Members talk about Vita Nova as a ‘FAMILY’
Engaging with the project gives participants a sense of purpose
Gerry: 'Vita Nova gives you purpose. It's different from just meetings as at Vita Nova you socialise. I suffer with feelings of isolation. I have taken part in creative writing and theatre work. Vita Nova is good because it gives you a bridge when you are not quite ready for work or education, you can build your self up.'
Education is at the HEART of Vita Nova: Participant’s share their life stories through theatre and post-show discussions Vita Nova offers education programmes that give informed choices re drug/ alcohol misuse.
Vita Nova works in a holistic way actively supporting members with their ongoing recovery programmes. It is a tool that works against addiction's ‘revolving door syndrome’, which can see people returning to treatment centres, mental health institutions, or prison. Vita Nova offers meaningful engagement. Especially in community theatre work, where through the safety of creative fiction addicts can tell and share their stories with the wider community.
- Volunteer participants have the opportunity to take part in its flagship community theatre work as part of their on-going recovery.
- Vita Nova is a stepping-stone and safety-net, particularly for those leaving rehabilitation centres.
- Vita Nova protects people at risk of harm. We work with some of the most vulnerable people in the community, including ex-rough sleepers, ex-prisoners, and members coming from challenged socio-economic backgrounds. It is a very inclusive and welcoming group.
Vita Nova has over the years helped hundreds of people on their journey be it education, employment, or in finding a way to live a positive, fulfilling, and healthier lifestyle.
Thousands of people, mostly young people, have engaged in the work of Vita Nova.
Vita Nova is UNIQUE
What makes Vita Nova UNIQUE is its ability to communicate with the community through its educational work. Vita Nova wins for the participants and those who experience their work.
Vita Nova provides people recovering from drug/alcohol addiction a means of putting their life experience to use, benefiting society, whilst giving them structure, self-esteem, and new skills.
Vita Nova gives participants a VOICE through their theatre work. They tell their stories through fiction and then the audience can talk to the actors who are all in recovery from drug and alcohol abuse.
For the wider community, Vita Nova works hard to break down the stereotypes surrounding addicts and addiction.
For young people, it's an educational experience that helps them make informed choices and offers a stark warning about the dangers of drug abuse. Which is more powerful when coming from those who have experienced real difficulties in their lives due to drug and alcohol abuse.
Our current play 'THE NEST'
(Image from 'The Nest')
The Vita Nova carries out work in schools and the community. This is cost-effective in preventing people from becoming involved in drugs and alcohol misuse.
Vita Nova connects directly with the community so that young people, in particular, have informed choices about drug and alcohol abuse and challenging stereotypes. Creating a dialogue is central to the ethos of VN.
Before COVID Vita Nova was touring their one-act play, ‘The Nest’ by Sharon (Muiruri)Coyne. This format has proved to be very powerful.
‘The Nest’ is a play that speaks to people in recovery, their families and friends, and the wider community. It also gives people who have no experience of addiction a real insight into this painful and harmful disease.
‘The Nest’ illustrates the last day of an addict’s struggle with addiction before asking for help. This play then becomes the platform for a post-play discussion. Where the audience can talk directly to the members about their experiences. ‘Sam’ the protagonist is sitting in his NEST or is it his PRISON?
The play lasts approximately 30 minutes and is followed by a Question and Answer session with the cast.
School engagement work
Vita Nova provides a highly effective drug preventative learning experience for schools, educating young people about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse by giving informed choices. Students watch a play that reflects the group’s life experiences, followed by an opportunity to talk to the cast.
“Realise that anyone can suffer even if you are against drink and drugs… no shame in asking for help it can happen to anyone…” (student response)
More than 1000 students watched Vita Nova in 2019.
(Image from 'The Nest')
Working with Treatment Centres – Vita Nova delivers performances and workshops in rehabilitation centres. This offers clients in treatment a pathway for when they have completed treatment, which is often a vulnerable period. Vita Nova offers a safety-net that gives purpose to those who join. Importantly it offers hope to the audiences.
“An emotional reminder of how my life used to be a place I never want to return. Keep going guys, Brilliant! “(client at a Treatment Centre)
Vita Nova has the experience and expertise to support those in recovery, and deliver educational programmes.
It has been running for over twenty years.
Our first play ‘Scratchin’ the Surface’ was seen by 60,000.
Through theatre Vita Nova gives participants a voice.
(Image of 'Raven' from ‘Scratchin’ the Surface.')
Vita Nova is well documented in National Drama, ACE Report 35, ‘The art of inclusion’ and publications on Applied Drama.
We have experienced professional facilitators who work with Vita Nova. Who have arts skills and the ability to work with vulnerable groups.
We have a specialised base/venue which is safe and welcoming to those in recovery.
Vita Nova over the years has helped so many people get back on their feet it has contributed to lowering crime and supported the community in promoting healthy living.
Education & Relapse Prevention
In this current time of economic crisis and COVID Vita Nova has never been so important, as recourses for those in recovery has been cut right back. Leaving treatment is often an extremely vulnerable time for people who have been used to a routine – Vita Nova offers a vital safe and nurturing stepping stone.
We need funds to assist Vita Nova's emergence from the COVID crisis, offering a breathing space whilst Vita Nova unable to earn from school engagement work, hire of space.
Our 12-month plan is focused on:
- continuing to engaging professional facilitators in supporting the well-being of group.
- re-engagement with community via drugs education programme-schools, treatment centres & homeless drop-ins.
In order to continue our work of over 20 years in drugs education & relapse prevention, funds are needed for rent, on costs, fees.
We need funds for the continuance of Vita Nova’s vital service by;
- Enabling the group to return SAFELY to our premises
- We need funds to support costs – rent, on costs. The impact of COVID-19 is we've been left with little or no income. Continued employment of our professional facilitators who will support the group in reintegration back into society.
- Some of the group, due to having mental health issues sustained in lockdown and will need extra time to rebuild their confidence
- We need to be able to rebuild our educational work.- Education (youth focus) disease of addiction/informed choices re drug/ alcohol misuse.
- We need to participants access our theatre/arts workshops -rebuilding dignity, self-confidence self-esteem
Please help us!
Before now we have managed to gain income from schools' work, hire of space and grants. Now we are struggling as the landscape is still very uncertain.
Your help would mean that Vita Nova will be able to move forward in these uncertain COVID times positively, by offering a breathing space whilst VN is unable to earn money
(Image from Vita Nova's Christmas Production, 2019 'The Wind of Change' by Sharon Muiruri Coyne.)
We have some rewards for you …
Wonderful pop-art postcards produced by David G Taylor, one of our members, who is in recovery but is also an accomplished artist. We also have T-shirts with our logo on and lots more. SEE REWARDS for full details.
ARTIST: David G Taylor BA (Hons) is a mixed-media artist and designer, and a member of Vita Nova.
His funky new postcard designs for the charity fuse ink-jet printing and collage. The images use Frankenstein’s monster and the Bride of Frankenstein as motifs. They’re symbolic of how monstrous alcoholics and addicts can often feel, how they can be reborn through recovery, and how Vita Nova can bring their dormant creative talents back to life.
Frankenstein author Mary Shelley is buried at St Peter’s Church, Bournemouth, and Vita Nova’s drama group performed a version of the play online by Zoom during the lockdown.