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breaking
the castle

written and performed by
PETER COOK

RIVERSIDE THEATRE,
PARRAMATTA

7-9 APRIL

“Do you value yourself?”

A powerful work embracing human complexity, Breaking The Castle traverses addiction, recovery and finding a way of being. Inspired by true events in the life of the playwright Breaking The Castle asks three questions. How do we make a place for ourselves in this world? How does a man deal with overcoming trauma? How does Australia deal with trauma?

Dave is dealing with serious mental health and substance abuse issues arising from past trauma and the knife’s edge existence he lives as a jobbing actor. Moving between past, present and future, and told with “a bucket load of laughs” the work is a portrait of a man who lives unaware of how his untreated trauma is affecting his present. Who, through the love of a friend, finds himself in a rehabilitation centre in the mountains of Thailand taking on his demons.

The play explores how our childhood affects us as adults, the nature of reality, the need for a fulfilling vocation, grief, loss, love, family, and is ultimately an uplifting story of redemption.

Through the story of one man the work illuminates the broader struggles of those who live on the edges, and the inequalities in the addiction and recovery cycle in Australia. It highlights the need for men to allow themselves to be vulnerable and seek help when they need it, and it celebrates the ability of the human spirit to prevail through the darkest of journeys.

In its writing, performance and production, this is an ode to the theatre and underscores the importance the arts play in overcoming tragedy. It is a comedy-drama about a human being human, the light and the dark, and resonates with audiences from all backgrounds. This was evident in its premiere season.

Writer and Performer : Peter Cook

Director : Caroline Stacey

Dramaturg : Shelly Higgs/Caroline Stacey

Design : Imogen Keen

Sound Design : Kimmo Vennonen

Lighting Design : Gerry Corcoran

Produced by The Street Theatre

“Cook’s play answers the question – why theatre?”

– Canberra City News

“Do you value yourself?”

A powerful work embracing human complexity, Breaking The Castle traverses addiction, recovery and finding a way of being. Inspired by true events in the life of the playwright Breaking The Castle asks three questions. How do we make a place for ourselves in this world? How does a man deal with overcoming trauma? How does Australia deal with trauma?

Dave is dealing with serious mental health and substance abuse issues arising from past trauma and the knife’s edge existence he lives as a jobbing actor. Moving between past, present and future, and told with “a bucket load of laughs” the work is a portrait of a man who lives unaware of how his untreated trauma is affecting his present. Who, through the love of a friend, finds himself in a rehabilitation centre in the mountains of Thailand taking on his demons.

The play explores how our childhood affects us as adults, the nature of reality, the need for a fulfilling vocation, grief, loss, love, family, and is ultimately an uplifting story of redemption.

Through the story of one man the work illuminates the broader struggles of those who live on the edges, and the inequalities in the addiction and recovery cycle in Australia. It highlights the need for men to allow themselves to be vulnerable and seek help when they need it, and it celebrates the ability of the human spirit to prevail through the darkest of journeys.

In its writing, performance and production, this is an ode to the theatre and underscores the importance the arts play in overcoming tragedy. It is a comedy-drama about a human being human, the light and the dark, and resonates with audiences from all backgrounds. This was evident in its premiere season.

Writer and Performer : Peter Cook

Director : Caroline Stacey

Dramaturg : Shelly Higgs/Caroline Stacey

Design : Imogen Keen

Sound Design : Kimmo Vennonen

Lighting Design : Gerry Corcoran

Produced by The Street Theatre

“Cook’s play answers the question – why theatre?”

– Canberra City News

Peter-Cook-Breaking-the-Castle-scene

"A sprawling one-man play about addiction, identity and masculinity... an impressive new work."

- The Canberra Times

Breaking the Castle interviews

Listen to interviews on SoundCloud
Listen to the many interviews I've done, talking about the Production, my journey and process in bringing this story to life.

“An incredibly powerful work… a privilege to see.”
Stage Whispers

“The balance struck by Peter Cook between the raw, confronting and solemn elements of this story and the effortless delivery of humour was perfectly struck. The relatable moments of levity and Australian ‘larrikin- isms’ were exquisitely timed to allow us to exhale long enough to accompany Dave through the next necessary truth …

Given the subject matter Breaking The Castle was as entertaining as it was compelling. As much a testimony to the storytelling and performance range of Cook as an actor as it is his ability to convey the essence of what it is to be human whilst navigating the pain of loss, trauma and addiction. At the same time paying homage to what is possible when we realise that we are not alone in our vulnerability. An exhilarating triumph of honesty, courage, resilience, inspiration, compassion and hope. Breaking The Castle is a legacy piece of unquantifiable proportions. See it. As soon as you possibly can. “

-Stage Centa

RIVERSIDE THEATRE,
PARRAMATTA

7-9 APRIL

“An exquisitely rendered script”

– The Border Mail

Breaking the Castle is the theatrical reckoning we need at this time, completely re-framing our relationship to vulnerability.

Delivering a powerhouse performance, Peter Cook creates cracks in the dam wall of audiences with his honesty, humanity, humour and courage.

The work connects universally to everyone who has ever had to overcome adversity - it is a story of hope, lighting the way, showing how to find our way home to ourselves, ingraining in our bones what it is to live with compassion for our fellow humans.

This play is changing lives.

- Karla Conway | HotHouse Theatre

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