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Event: REHAB a dark comedy about recovery

Set in a residential rehab and based on lived experience, REHAB is an unscripted theatre show featuring an eclectic mix of alcoholics and drug addicts all searching for recovery. As part of the Auckland Fringe Festival, REHAB runs from February 18th, 19th, 20th, 25th, 26th, and 27th at the Covert Theatre, Ponsonby. Based on first-time producer Elizabeth Cracroft’s lived-experience, the dark comedy represents addicts and alcoholics from various backgrounds, including an alcoholic lobbyist, an ex-athlete turned meth addict and a disturbed entrepreneur. The REHAB cast consists of nine creatives from improv, acting and comedy backgrounds. 

Directed by Improv Bandit and actor, Paul Paice, REHAB’S show creation has incorporated a unique hybrid of devised characters and improvised scenes, as well as guidance and inspiration from recovering alcoholics & drug-addicts, and drug and alcohol clinicians. Paice says, “the creation of the show has been an enlightening process – it has been a privilege to draw on the rich experiences that recovery members have kindly shared with us. This has enabled us to devise our characters and create a show with real heart and integrity, while also highlighting a seriously damaging issue in our community.” REHAB will affect its audience members in many ways, Cracroft says “the show is a dark comedy and the humour comes through the brutal honesty of the characters. A lot of our stories in rehab are tragic and uncomfortable, so we are often relating to each other through laughter as it provides some relief” Cracroft says. 

Cracroft’s vision behind the show is to help bring further awareness to the topic of addiction and recovery through challenging stigma. She says, “I got sober 11 years ago when I was 24 and although I’ve observed a slight improvement in people’s understanding around addiction and recovery, there is still a lot of misunderstanding. Through REHAB, I want to demonstrate that addiction does not discriminate – literally, any one of us can struggle with this issue. Struggling with addiction also doesn’t make us weak-willed or defective, it is a condition often beyond our physical and mental control”. Harvard Health Publishing explains that “scientific consensus recognises addiction as a chronic disease that changes both brain structure and function. Just as cardiovascular disease damages the heart and diabetes impairs the pancreas, addiction hijacks the brain”. 

Cracroft further adds, “In my experience, addiction hits every extremity of our society and through studying law, I have also become well aware to the extent that our prison population is unfortunately made up of drug addicts and alcoholics. I think that the more addiction is discussed in an honest, factual way, based on lived experience – the more it can be pushed into a mainstream forum, consequently making it easier for the still suffering alcoholic and/or addict to seek help. Recovery has taught Cracroft how to deal with the underlying issues concerning her addiction as well as continuing to grow in a holistic sense. “The recovery community is filled with so many motivated, intelligent and creative people, all who through their own experiences and growth contribute a lot to society”, she says. There are many roads to recovery including, Community Alcohol and Drug Services (CADS), Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), as well as other public rehab facilities and recovery groups. 

“Ultimately, I plan for REHAB to one-day reach a wider audience through a web or tv series. Many people battle with addiction is isolation and can struggle to conceptualise that recovery is even possible. A series would provide a wider scope to connect to those still suffering – and hopefully inspire them to seek help”. “I was very isolated in my drinking but also scared to go rehab in my early 20s, as it felt very out of my comfort zone and I thought I was too young. Luckily my addiction progressed and eventually, I had no choice; but that fear of the unknown can keep people in active addiction for years.” Cracroft says. 

Media Enquires: Elizabeth Cracroft | elizabeth.cracroft@gmail.com | 021 823 104


VENUE:                      Covert Theatre, 51 Mackelvie Street, Ponsonby

DATES:                       February: Thurs 18th, Fri 19th,  Sat 20th, Thurs 25th, Fri 26th, Sat 27th

TIME:                         7:00pm (90 minute show with intermission)

TICKETS:                    Eventfinda eventfinda.co.nz/2021/rehab/auckland/ponsonby

WEBSITE:                   aucklandfringe.co.nz/rehab

INSTAGRAM:            @rehab_show

FACEBOOK:               facebook.com/REHAB-Fringe-Festival-Show-2021-104762641602183


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