PETER Cook was 40 when he was first thrown a lifeline.
There, he found out trauma was behind most forms of addiction.
"The rich people I was in rehab with had the same issues as the people I was using with in the Cross; grief, sexual abuse, parental neglect and divorce," Cook said.
Cook's relatively recent experiences and those of people around him dealing with addiction prompted him to write Breaking the Castle, which explores trauma, family, grief and loss.
Cook said he wanted to offer a deeper understanding of addiction and generate empathy.
"There's no political will for us to be a nation of empaths," he said.
"It's much more popular to see addiction through a punitive lens."
HotHouse Theatre will open its season of Breaking The Castle in Wodonga tomorrow night.
Teaming up with La Trobe University, HotHouse Theatre will present a new pre-show panel series to spark deeper conversations around the themes in Season 2021.
The pre-show panel conversation for Breaking the Castle on Thursday night will highlight the issues around stigma, shame and recovery.
Cook said trauma was often a difficult thing to talk about because of its many layers.
"The trauma associated with our First Nations peoples is something we'll never fully understand," he said.
Cook said despite the weighty subject matter of Breaking the Castle, it was hopeful.
"It's uplifting; it's a story of hope and resilience," Cook said.
"I do think this is a show that will also appeal to people who don't usually go to the theatre.
"It's about how the human spirit can overcome adversity; I hope it can be a bit of a road map for people."
Breaking the Castle premiered at The Street Theatre in Canberra in early 2020 before its HotHouse season in Wodonga was postponed in March that year owing to the coronavirus pandemic.
It will run at the Butter Factory Theatre in Gateway Village tomorrow until Saturday.
It will be the third attempt to bring the show to Wodonga owing to the COVID-19 crisis.
Following tomorrow's opening, shows run Wednesday at 6.30pm, Thursday at 8pm, Friday at 8pm (sold-out) and Saturday at 3pm (audio described) and 8pm. Bookings essential for the free pre-show panel (6.45pm to 7.30pm) before Thursday's 8pm show. For tickets visit hothousetheatre.com.au.
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