A dance group for recovering addicts was among arts organisations celebrated at a one-off night of performances from musicals.
The National Lottery’s Big Night of Musicals, held at Manchester’s AO Arena on Monday and hosted by comedian Jason Manford, was put on as a thank you for National Lottery players who helped arts and theatre groups during the coronavirus pandemic with a total of £228 million funding.
The Fallen Angels charity, set up by Paul Bayes Kitcher and his wife Claire Morris, was among the organisations and community heroes invited to attend the evening as special guests.
The group was launched in 2010 after former Birmingham Royal Ballet dancer Mr Bayes Kitcher, 54, attended rehab to tackle his addiction to drink and drugs.
— The National Lottery (@TNLUK) January 24, 2022
He said: “This was a very dark time in my life and I did feel like giving up.
“But, I eventually got myself back into rehab and it was at this point that I finally did manage to turn things around.
“I was determined.
“Today I look back on my life every day and think how grateful I am.”
The charity, which has its headquarters in Chester, Cheshire, aims to provide dance theatre experiences for people in recovery from addiction.
During the pandemic, it was able to provide virtual sessions on dance and music thanks to National Lottery funding.
Mr Bayes Kitcher said: “Hopefully I was able to make an impact with daily virtual sessions, demonstrating how movement can really make a huge difference.”
Co-founder Ms Morris, 47, was in the audience at the Monday night show to enjoy performances from musicals including Waitress, Frozen The Musical, Back To The Future and The Drifters Girl.
She said: “Being invited to be part of this spectacular night, meeting Jason Manford and representing all of our wonderful dancers, creatives and Fallen Angels feels very special.”
National Lottery’s Big Night of Musicals will be shown on BBC One at 7pm on Saturday.