China Plate and Staatstheater Mainz present

Talking About The Fire

If nuclear weapons continue to exist, we won’t. That’s how this started.

#TalkingAboutTheFire

Run time: 90 minutes

Age: 14+

Content warnings: Strong language and themes of nuclear warfare.

A man stands with his right arm raised slightly. He is on stage looking out towards the audience. Behind him is a video projection.

Time Out

5 stars

Broadway World

5 stars

The Stage

4 stars

"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 (Stagedoor)

A man stands holding a microphone up to a person in the audience. Around them other members of the audience look on.

Talking About The Fire

Created by Chris Thorpe and Claire O’Reilly
Written and performed by Chris Thorpe
Developed with Rachel Chavkin

Very few of us have lived in a world without nuclear weapons. Not me. Probably not you. They just… exist.

Sometimes the threat slides into view. Russia invades Ukraine, maybe. But that doesn’t make the weapons more dangerous. They’re always dangerous. And one day – deliberately or accidentally – they’ll be used again. And then it’s all over.

From the team that created the award-winning Status and Confirmation, comes a show about a new nuclear weapons treaty – one that’s trying to give the power to eliminate nuclear weapons to the states, and people, who don’t possess them.

Created by seven-time Fringe First winner Chris Thorpe and Claire O’Reilly (Abbey Theatre) and developed with Tony Award-winning Rachel Chavkin.

★★★★★ ‘It’s all masterfully put together… this show culminates in an encounter that really puts the ‘alive’ into ‘live theatre’. – Time Out

★★★★★ “It’s precisely the feeling of community and comfort in the room that makes the horror of what Thorpe is describing so powerful.” Broadway World

★★★★ “Informative and deeply affecting… Thorpe is an assured and tremendously engaging performer.” – The Stage

★★★★ ‘Chris Thorpe does what he does with a performative skill that is off-the-charts brilliant. It is an extraordinary evening of theatre.’Theatre Reviews Hub

Supported by Battersea Arts Centre, The Albany and Véronique Christory.

For more information, please contact Susan Wareham.

Photo © Arnim Friess

On Sale Now

  • 12th July 2024 at Departure Lounge Festival, Derby Theatre

    Book now

Talking About The Fire is a one-person show, inspired by Chris’ larger-scale theatre show A Family Business, which draws on several years’ research with senior arms-control advisors, UN diplomats and activists working to develop the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), as well as officials representing nuclear weapons states.

Both shows examine the TPNW, and tell the story of its groundbreaking attempt to shift the power centres of diplomacy around one of the most urgent threats to human civilisation, by putting decision-making into the hands of a coalition of Non-government organisations (NGO’s), civil society pressure groups, and crucially, countries, mostly representing the Global South, who are normally sidelined or ignored in the ‘normal’ power-structures of international policy making.

As well as scenes based on deep research, and information about nuclear threat, Talking About The Fire contains a huge element of conversation with the audience – it is about bringing what is usually regarded as a remote world, inaccessible and dominated by experts, alive in the theatre, and giving the audience pathways to regaining their agency on the urgent issue of nuclear proliferation.

The show undertook two weeks of R&D at Battersea Arts Centre in May 2023 and two weeks of R&D at The Albany in October 2023; culminating in a world premiere limited run at The Royal Court Theatre in December 2023. It now comes to the Midlands for the Departure Lounge Festival at Derby Theatre in July 2024.

For more information, please contact Susan Wareham.

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
  • Designer | Eleanor Field
  • Production Manager | Rob Athorn
  • Script developed with | Rachel Chavkin and Staatstheater Mainz

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