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A Family Business by Chris Thorpe

presented by China Plate and Staatstheater Mainz


Theatre-maker Chris Thorpe and director Rachel Chavkin re-unite following their hugely successful productions of Confirmation and Status, both Scotsman Fringe First-winning plays. 

Based on conversations with activists, academics and diplomats, A Family Business focusses on the human story of the struggle for nuclear disarmament, and the group of people whose business it is to try to stop us from blowing up the planet.  

This powerful and timely piece of theatre from China Plate and Staatstheater Mainz, about ordinary people who make extraordinarily important decisions, examines what qualifies a person to speak on behalf of huge parts of the global population – and asks why we don’t really talk about nuclear weapons much, even though they accompany us everywhere. 

Written and performed by Chris Thorpe 
Directed by Claire O’Reilly 

Developed with Rachel Chavkin and Lekan Lawal 

In partnership with Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg. Supported by Warwick Arts Centre and using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. 

Running time: 90 mins (no interval)
Age guidance: 14+

Content warnings: Strong language, flashing lights & haze and the themes of nuclear warfare

Full credits: 
• Writer & Performer | Chris Thorpe
• Director | Claire O’Reilly
• Assistant Director on Production| Tim Schmultzer
• Dramaturg | Rachel Chavkin & Jörg Vorhaben
• Casting Director | Christopher Worrall
• Designer & Costume Designer | Eleanor Field
• Sound Designer | Anna Clock
• Lighting and A/V Designer | Arnim Friess
• Production Manager | Rob Athorn
• Performer (James) | Greg Barnett
• Performer (Layla) | Efé Agwale
• Performer (Veronique) | Andrea Quirbach

"A Family Business is brilliant. A show which encourages us to be part of the urgent conversation and action for the sake of present and future generations. A show full of hope and humanity”

Véronique Christory, Senior Arms Adviser for the International Committee of the Red Cross at the United Nations

“Cannot recommend it enough. Apart from the subject matter's urgency, its brilliant use of multi-lingualism, technology and staging has seared it in my brain”

Audience Member

"If you don't know the work of Manchester-based playwright Chris Thorpe, you should, because he is one of the UK's most thoughtful theatre-makers, tackling subjects and issues that others shy away from."

Lyn Gardner, Stage Door

“It’s empowerment, not fear that Thorpe seeks to give the audience.”
“It is engaging, in some ways mind-blowing, and a reminder that the people who make decisions in the global corridors of power don’t always have the world’s best interest at heart.”
“…delivered with passion and wit, an understanding of the local landscape, and some extremely well-explained details and facts.”

Luxembourg Times

A Family Business trailer