Actors In Recovery From Substance Misuse Perform Bold New Production About America's Opioid Crisis
A Very Happy Scrappy Sackler Family Thanksgiving, premiering October 24 at DARE Festival 2019, explores the civil lawsuits filed against 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.
Outside Edge Theatre Company is the UK's only theatre company and participatory arts charity focused on addiction, having worked with performers in recovery for twenty years to create productions that examine issues related to substance misuse, addiction and recovery. Outside Edge Theatre Company has produced new work at the Soho Theatre, VAULT Festival, Hoxton
Outside Edge Theatre Company, 61 Munster Road, London SW6 5RE | 020 7371 8020 | www.edgetc.org Patrons: Mark Rylance, Jimmy Page, Simon Woodroffe, Kika Markham, Pierce Brosnan and Anna Chancellor Outside Edge Theatre Company is a registered charity and company limited by guarantee. Company Reg. No. 03871591, England. Reg. Charity No. 1080948
Hall, Riverside Studios and other London venues. The company's work with people in recovery was recently featured on BBC One's Sunday Morning Live.
Outside Edge Theatre Company's Artistic Director, Matt Steinberg, directs A Very Happy Scrappy Sackler Family Thanksgiving. He explains the importance of creating this work, saying:
"Made by 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 about people affected by addiction and working with performers who have lived-experience of recovery, it is imperative for us to respond to this epidemic generating extraordinary headlines everyday.
With pressure now being put on arts organisations to obtain ethical sponsorship and funding, it feels timely for our theatre company to respond to the opioid crisis by examining the lawsuits filed against individuals in the Sackler family, 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. I'm thrilled that we can present this work alongside the incredible group of artists taking part in this year's DARE Festival at Shoreditch Town Hall."
For Outside Edge Theatre Company, Matt Steinberg recently directed Tumulus at Soho Theatre, an award-winning 'queer noir' set against the backdrop of London's chemsex scene, and Check- in/Check-out at the VAULT Festival, which explored the performers' personal stories of addiction and recovery. Matt has also directed productions at Southwark Playhouse, Theatre503, Iford Arts, East15 and Toronto's Tarragon Theatre. He worked as an assistant director for the Lyric Hammersmith's Secret Theatre project and for the Royal Court. He is the recipient of Equity UK's John Fernald Award for Emerging Directors, the Tyrone Guthrie Award and the Christopher Plummer Award.