Ellie chats to Peter Cook who is bringing his critically-acclaimed show Breaking the Castle to London after a successful Fringe run.

Congratulations on your fantastic run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – how are you feeling ahead of your opening in London?

I’m really excited, obviously nervous as well. London has always been a dream and now that I’m here to perform in my one-man show it’s surreal. I really hope London audiences connect with the work.

Without spoiling the plot, can you tell us a little about the show itself?

The show is about a struggling actor trying to find his place in the world. It traverses mental, addiction and trauma but also recovery and healing. There are plenty of funny moments, and it’s an uplifting tale of redemption as we follow Dave on his journey to redemption. 

This play draws on your own life experiences – how would you say this impacted your writing process? 

In a sense, writing about my own experiences was easy in terms of having material to draw on – there were so many scenes that didn’t make the final draft. Eventually though you have to write a play that works, that is structurally sound and that keeps the audience engaged. I guess because it is based on my own experiences there is an authenticity that the audience can recognise.

Which audiences do you think would connect the most with this piece?

I really believe it connects across all genders, ages and cultural backgrounds. I know this because of the feedback I have had from audience members. I was always worried that it wouldn’t connect with an older demographic, but people who have lived a longer life have seen more and understand the struggles of being human in a more profound way and that demographic have been so supportive of the work, it great that people from 18-70 connect with the show.

What inspired you to write this piece?

That addiction is something that affects all of us. That we as humans all struggle and ultimately we need to recognise that everyone has their own struggles. I wanted to foster a sense of compassion.

What are you most looking forward to with this run?

I’m most looking forward to seeing how a London audience responds. London has such a vibrant theatre culture, and I’m looking forward to seeing how they respond to the work.

Are there any moments from the show that are particularly challenging to perform?

There are quite a few parts that are physically demanding, and I have to make sure that I’m keeping the energy up.

As a current Creative Writing uni student myself, I was wondering if you had any advice for young writers wanting to start a career in the theatre industry?

Write something that you believe in, a story you want to tell.

Finally, why should audiences buy tickets to Breaking the Castle?

Because you will laugh, cry and be uplifted. It will have an impact long after they leave the theatre.

Breaking the Castle is coming to the Pleasance London October 17th and 18th, then goes to the Old Red Lion Theatre November 7th-11th. Don’t miss this visceral and uplifting show!

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