Photo Credits: James Barrett and Lidia Crisafulli
A new play about the American opioid crisis devised and performed by actors in recovery from substance misuse.
The prescription blizzard will be so deep dense and white.
A Very Happy Scrappy Sackler Family Thanksgiving explores the civil lawsuits suing individual members of the billionaire family who own Purdue Pharma, the maker of the opioid prescription painkiller OxyContin.
With dialogue drawn from statements made by members of the Sackler family named as defendants in civil lawsuits filed by multiple American states, the production imagines a Thanksgiving in which generations of a fictional philanthropic family sit down over turkey and pie to give thanks with the knowledge that everyday 130 people in America die from opioid-related overdoses.
All performers in the production are in recovery from substance misuse and addiction.
Made with performers in recovery, this production is their personal response to an urgent public health crisis that has killed almost 400,000 Americans since 1999, with an estimated 80% of heroin users starting after their use of prescription opioids. As the UK’s only theatre company committed to telling stories of people affected by addiction and working with performers who have lived-experience of recovery, it is imperative that we respond to this extraordinary matter of public interest.
With the recent focus given to ethical arts funding, it also feels timely for our theatre company to respond to the opioid crisis by examining the lawsuits filed against members of the Sackler family who sat on the Board of Purdue Pharma, because they are also known for their generous cultural philanthropy. By presenting the family members’ actual statements in a funny and formally innovative theatre production, we hope audiences will reflect on the role that commerce played in fuelling this public health crisis and learn more about the civil lawsuits related to the epidemic.