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How one creative found her sobriety through art

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In the heart of Camden, a vibrant cultural epicentre known for its eclectic mix of music, art, and subcultures, Lisa Gornick's new play, "Drawing on the Bottle," will be a standout feature in the Camden People’s Theatre 30th Anniversary: Camden Roar Festival this weekend. The festival, which kicks off today and runs throughout June, will showcase Gornick's deeply personal and evocative exploration of alcoholism, making its debut on Friday, June 7th, and running through Saturday, June 8th.

"Drawing on the Bottle" delves into Gornick's own tumultuous journey with alcohol, a story that begins with the allure of social drinking and spirals into the isolating grip of addiction. Set against the lively backdrop of Camden, the play offers a raw, multi-dimensional, and often comic retelling of her experiences, aiming to provoke audiences to reflect on their own relationships with alcohol.

Through her narrative, Gornick exposes the stark realities of dependency and its capacity to alienate and divide, all while weaving in her personal process of recovery through art and community support.

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According to the artist herself: -

“I have known since I was about 3 that drawing and performing made me feel calm, happy, in touch with myself. Any time I draw, no matter what it is, it provides an inner peace that no drug has ever given me.

However, I totally forgot this. And became hooked on using alcohol to solve everything. My new live drawing show, “Drawing on The Bottle: a short guide to ethanol”, explores the hideous cloak that booze threw over me - and I gradually stopped drawing, performing, filmmaking - nothing. I just lay and consumed aimless reels and reels.

I am refinding my hybrid creative life - drawing, performing and filmmaking and this time I’m not going to let it go. I feel perhaps my ego, or a bit of vanity, has quietened down and this is a good thing for me. Because now it is just the pen on the paper. The voicing, the moving. Lets see what happens. Very present tense.

And this is all to do with letting my creativity back in, especially drawing. Which I can do, alone, just for me, as an easy happy line of art.

I also like to teach drawing workshops for everyone. I’ve paused on this whilst I get my new live show and subsequent cross platform production of feature, graphic book and drawing exhibition around the same theme of the bottle, the ethanol in my life. But I found in the drawing workshops the easy joy that anyone can have of any ability when the forget themselves and put pen to paper and let images emerge.

I am a true believer that if we all drew together and individually, we would solve a lot of pain. We need creativity now more than ever. I learnt that by giving it up, only pain and loneliness comes in. No more, and I’d love other people to join me.”

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"Drawing on the Bottle" is not just a personal narrative; it is a powerful commentary on the broader issues of alcohol dependency and recovery within Camden and beyond. Her portrayal is set against a backdrop of sobering statistics that highlight the urgent need for awareness and change. Yet, amidst the grim data, there are glimmers of hope, such as the opening of Camden's first Heavy Metal Alcohol-Free bar in 2024.

Through her courageous storytelling and interactive approach, where audiences are invited to create drawings inspired by the themes of the show, Gornick extends a hand of solidarity and support to those grappling with similar struggles. Her play is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the transformative power of art.

As "Drawing on the Bottle" takes the stage this weekend, it promises to be a thought-provoking and inspiring addition to the Camden Roar Festival, inviting us all to reconsider our perceptions of addiction and recovery.

Drawing on the Bottle is part of the Camden Roar, and will be  performed at the Camden People’s Theatre from Friday 7th June – Saturday 8th June.

Tickets can be found at https://cptheatre.co.uk/whatson/Drawing-on-the-Bottle and the full Camden Roar Festival programme can be found at https://cptheatre.co.uk/festivals/camden-roar

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