In 1999, Emilia Teglia had come from Italy and was struggling with addiction issues and homeless.
“I was really in a bad state,” the now 45-year-old says.
“I spoke English but not a great amount. I wasn’t eligible for any state benefits. I had addiction problems, no fixed abode problems. My view of the future was quite bleak. Luckily, there is something like The Big Issue.”
A scheme run by The Big Issue paired vendors with a mentor and Teglia was matched with Sarah Templeton, who had run a theatre company.
Teglia had always been interested in performance and that mentorship became a lifeline when Templeton introduced her to Cardboard Citizens, which runs theatre workshops with people who have experienced homelessness (also celebrating its 30th birthday this year).
“Don’t underestimate what fun and play can do because it really puts you in touch with your soul,” says Teglia.