Local community heroes, and founders of motivational dance charity Fallen Angels, were invited to attend The National Lottery’s Big Night of Musicals this week – representing one of the hundreds of Good Causes that have benefited from funding raised by National Lottery players during the pandemic.
The one-of-a-kind night of musicals spectacular, hosted by Jason Manford, was to thank National Lottery players who have helped keep arts and theatre groups, like Fallen Angels, going during the pandemic with a total of £228M of funding going to the arts.
Paul Bayes Kitcher (54), and wife Claire (47), co-founded Fallen Angels ten years ago. Paul, a former professional ballet dancer, struggled with drugs and alcohol addiction himself but through sheer hard work and determination he turned his life around to launch support groups to help others.
Claire, who was able to attend the event, met Jason on the red carpet.
Claire 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.”
The National Lottery’s Big Night of Musicals will be aired on BBC One this Saturday 29 January at 7pm. The show features some of the best musicals from the world of theatre, including Tina - The Tina Turner Musical, & Juliet, Waitress and Get Up Stand Up! The Bob Marley Musical, FROZEN the Musical, Dear Evan Hansen, Disney’s The Lion King, Back to the Future, The Drifters Girl, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s School of Rock, Bat Out Of Hell, Dreamgirls and Beauty and the Beast, which features in a unique Disney medley.
Paul, from Chester, has been clean from drink for 20 years and clean from drugs for 15 years. And thanks to over half a million pounds of National Lottery funding, since 2010, was able to launch his own motivational dance theatre company and is today helping hundreds of people across the North West to see light in their darkened lives.
He uses his own life experiences and experience as both a student, dancer and guest teacher at The Royal Ballet School and Birmingham Royal Ballet, to help and support people with a range of needs from alcohol and drug misuse to mental health problems, to turn their lives around.
During the pandemic - thanks to The National Lottery funding - he was able to support hundreds of people throughout the North West with virtual sessions on dance and movement and saw his charity go from strength to strength.
Paul said, “This was a very dark time for lots of people but hopefully I was able to make an impact with daily virtual sessions, demonstrating how movement can really make a huge difference.”
Fallen Angels, which has a headquarters in Chester but also operates groups in Liverpool and Leigh, is now looking to expand into Manchester later this year – and bring out three films!
Paul achieved a place at the prestigious Royal Ballet School at the age of 11.
He added, “I had a talent, but unfortunately due to what I now understand as mental health adversity which led to addiction, I found school very challenging.”
After a long battle with addiction, Paul eventually ended up in rehab, a very challenging time in his life.
He continued, “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.”
During his career Paul had to honor to dance for Princess Diana and Princess Margaret. He has returned to The Royal Ballet School to teach on projects for students, and through Fallen Angels has taught in prisons, rehab, and has helped people of all ages and varying needs.
He was thrilled to introduce HM The Queen to the Fallen Angels community group at the official opening of Storyhouse Theatre in Chester where the company is in residence.
Paul, who has two children aged 12 and 14, plans to launch Transfiguration, a trio of films that shows snapshots of people, like Paul, and their experiences of addiction and recovery. The film is a 10 minute dance and spoken word film exploring the carnage and chaos of addiction and the unbearable compulsion to use. But through the despair, it shows that recovery can be possible.
I Fall, I Need, We Rise will be available to watch for free online, with I Fall launching on Storyhouse.com on 20 January. I Need and We Rise will be available in the spring at:
Pictured - Claire meeting Jason Manford on the red carpet.