China Plate and Staatstheater Mainz present

A Family Business

A show about how not to blow up the planet.


Run time: 90 minutes

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.

"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

The camera is focused on a woman looking at a man in the foreground on a laptop, she looks slightly concerned.

A Family Business

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

We don’t really talk about nuclear weapons much.

Even though they accompany us everywhere.

Invisible guests in cafés, on the shelves of supermarkets, in line at the cash machine.

Guests that could destroy all of that and more in a second.

A Family Business is about diplomats, activists, and a journey to change the world. If these weapons could wipe out all our tomorrows, then why aren’t we all talking about them today?

“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

For a further insight into the origination of the show, Chris did an interview with Louis Reitmann for Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, available on Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists website here. Chris was also interviewed by Staatstheater Mainz’s Chief Dramaturg Jörg Vorhaben, which is available to read on our News & More page here.

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.

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

Book Now

  • 16th January 2024 - 20th January 2024 at Staatstheater Mainz

  • 24th January 2024 - 25th January 2024 at Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg

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  • 1st February 2024 - 2nd February 2024 at Exeter Northcott Theatre - Barnfield Theatre

  • 7th February 2024 - 8th February 2024 at Tobacco Factory

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  • 10th February 2024 at Pound Arts Centre

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  • 12th February 2024 at Norwich Theatre Playhouse

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  • 13th February 2024 at South Street Arts Centre

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  • 15th February 2024 at The ShowRoom Chichester

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  • 16th February 2024 at Brighton Dome

  • 19th February 2023 - 20th February 2024 at Sheffield Theatres

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  • 22nd February 2024 at Lincoln Arts Centre

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  • 23rd February 2024 - 25th February 2024 at Omnibus Theatre, Clapham

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  • 27th February 2024 at Theatre Royal Bury St.Edmunds

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  • 29th February 2024 - 2nd March 2024 at HOME, Manchester

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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.

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
  • 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 & Video Designer | Arnim Friess
  • Production Manager | Rob Athorn
  • Performer (James) | Greg Barnett
  • Performer (Layla) | Efé Agwele
  • Performer (Veronique) | Andrea Quirbach

You might also like...

Talking About The Fire

Very few of us have lived in a world without nuclear weapons. If they continue to exist, we won't. That’s how this started.

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

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

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