China Plate and Staatstheater Mainz present

A Family Business

A show about how not to blow up the planet.


Age: 14+

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

A man sitting at a coffee table, holding a mug, with a yellow teapot on the table with smoke escaping.

A Family Business

Written by Chris Thorpe
Developed with Rachel Chavkin and Lekan Lawal
Directed by Claire O’Reilly

A Family Business links the global to the local.

We live in a world so connected we can access ongoing conflicts, and their implications, in real time – and even then nuclear weapons still seem to exist in an untouchable space, controlled by political and diplomatic forces our everyday lives don’t connect with. But the people who manage these existential threats are still just that – people. And the nuclear issue is embedded in every aspect of our lives, even if we find it hard to notice.

The show is about diplomats, activists, and the global threat of nuclear weapons – but it’s also a journey into what matters to us in this room, right now. How do we even start to deal with the global, when so much in our everyday needs fixing? And should we even separate the two?

For a further explanation about the show, Chris did an interview with Louis Reitmann for Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, available here.

Supported by Warwick Arts Centre and using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

Images © Rebecca Lupton & Ivan Pieri Gonzalez – picture in frame by Ahmed ElHassan [Top] Andreas J. Etter [Left]

Book Now

  • 2nd December 2022 - 9th January 2023 at Staatstheater Mainz

    Book now
  • 1st March 2023 - 2nd March 2023 at Warwick Arts Centre

The show is currently in rehearsal at Staatstheater Mainz and will premier there on 2nd December. The show will then be performed at Staatstheater Mainz on 5th, 7th & 8th December, and 8th & 9th January 2023 – tickets are currently on sale via our ‘Tickets’ tab.

The UK premier will be held on 1st March at Warwick Arts Centre, followed by a performance on 2nd March – tickets on sale soon.

The main UK & international tour taking place from Spring 2024. We are looking for collaborators on the project, so if you would like to come onboard as a partner, or book the show as part of its tour, please contact our producer Susan Wareham.

Like Confirmation & Status, A Family Business is built around the idea of the real-world effects on individual and social decision-making of the cognitive biases and stories we carry unconsciously within us. Confirmation investigated this at the level of the individual, Status at the level of the national – A Family Business expands to look at what happens when those constructed stories of nationality have to communicate with each other at a global level and at the diplomats tasked with doing that.

Confirmation and Status both won Fringe First Awards at the Edinburgh Festival (2014 & 2018) and were both selected for the British Council Edinburgh Showcase (2015 & 2019). Between them Chris has completed 6 UK tours, 4 Edinburgh Festivals, 4 London runs and international tour dates including: Berlin, Mannheim, Mainz, New York, Vienna, Athens, Porto, Brisbane, Bucharest, Beirut, Nuremberg and Luxemburg.

This is the final show in a trilogy of plays examining the intersection between our individual humanity and our politics. A Family Business will see the development of a more ambitious design concept and, for the first time, an exploration of co-creating work with audiences. The audience will play a key role in the performance of the show, with the design involving two actors performing from within a glass box with their dialogue re-laid to certain audience members through headphones. Certain parts of this dialogue will then be re-laid to the audience as a whole through these audience members.

Creative Team

A man singing into a microphone, against a projected backdrop.

Chris Thorpe

A critically acclaimed writer & performer; developing the final show in his trilogy with Rachel Chavkin.

Read more
  • Writer & Performer | Chris Thorpe
  • Director | Claire O’Reilly
  • Dramaturg | Rachel Chavkin & Jörg Vorhaben
  • Casting Director | Jatinder Chera
  • Designer & Costume Designer | Eleanor Field
  • Sound Designer | Anna Clock
  • Lighting Designer | David Neumann
  • Production Manager | Rob Athorn
  • Performer (James) | Sebastián Capitán Viveros
  • Performer (Layla) | Efé Agwele
  • Performer (Veronique) | Andrea Quirbach

You might also like...


Confirmation attempts to have an honourable dialogue, real and imagined, with political extremism.

Read more


We all have a nationality. Or almost all of us. Status is a show about someone who doesn't want his any more.

Read more