Stuart Waters woke up one day in hospital.

He’d been there for five days without anyone knowing who he was.

Having been found unconscious in the street, he was in intensive care for 35 days.

“Luckily, and I use that word lightly, I’d been arrested in the past so the police had a record of my finger prints. So when the hospital got in touch with the local police station they were finally able to identify me.”

Having been abusing drink, drugs and sex, Stuart was in recovery for eight months: “The doctors told me I probably would have died had I not been in peak physical condition,” he said.

It seems incredible that someone of his immense talent, at the top of his career, could fall so low and implode his own future.

Oxford Mail:

And yet, his new show Rockbottom, is living proof that every cloud has a silver lining.

“During that time I had the idea of making a show based on my experiences and I came up with the title of the show, ‘Rockbottom’, because it’s how I actually felt at my lowest point,” he explains.

But to understand his work completely, one has to go back to the very beginning, to comprehend where it all went wrong.

Stuart worked as a dancer and actor for successful companies such as Motionhouse, Barebones, Panta Rei Dance Theatre in Norway, Wired Aerial Theatre in Liverpool and Protein Dance Company in London, over the past 10 years.

“All these companies put on fantastic shows that toured all over the UK – and often abroad. They got big audiences; the shows were always amazing – and of course they were physically very demanding.

“I think it’s safe to say there was a period when I was constantly on the road – probably for about five years.

Oxford Mail:

“As much as I loved it I found it was starting to have an effect on my health and I turned to unhealthy coping mechanisms; I got caught up in a spiral of drugs, sex and clubbing and couldn’t find my way out.

“Everyone I knew, all my friends, fellow performers and employers tried incredibly hard to support me, ultimately it didn’t work.

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“I was probably at the top of my career when I hit my own personal ‘rock bottom’.

“I would feel an emptiness when returning home from tours which led to increased feelings of isolation, loneliness, anxiety and bursts of depression. And I would do anything to combat those terrible feelings,” he remembers.

His hospital spell changed everything, and now Stuart is pro-active rather than reactive. “Working with compassion has enabled me to reach depths I never thought possible.

“Art is a great platform and dance should lead the way.”

  • Stuart Waters performs Rockbottom tomorrow (Wednesday, March 6) at The Old Fire Station, Oxford. Tickets from