The Bomb: A Partial History

Thu 9 Feb 2012 – Sun 1 Apr 2012

by Lee Blessing, Ryan Craig, John Donnelly, David Greig, Elena Gremina, Amit Gupta, Zinnie Harris, Ron Hutchinson, Diana Son, Colin Teevan

A political history of the Nuclear Bomb and proliferation from 1940 to the present day. The Bomb is in two parts and can be seen on consecutive nights or on an afternoon and evening over the weekend. Directed by Nicolas Kent.

The Bomb

‘An astonishing achievement’ The Guardian

‘Exhilarating’ The Times

‘Explosive… a real blast’ The Independent

‘Ambitious and penetrating’ Daily Telegraph

‘Unsettling… timely’ Evening Standard

‘Entertaining, provoking… with admirable
nuance and real purpose’
Time Out

‘A vivid, serious examination of one of
the most pressing issues of our time’
Financial Times

First Blast (1940-1992)

It is the first year of World War II, and in Whitehall two émigré Jewish scientists are waiting for a meeting to get the British establishment to take their nuclear research seriously. The following plays then trace the history of the Labour party wrestling with the decision to build the Atomic Bomb, the Cuban missile crisis from a Russian perspective, China’s war with India and the subsequent development of India’s bomb, the break-up of the Soviet Union and the unilateral disarmament of Ukraine.

Cast: Rick Warden, Daniel Rabin, Simon Chandler

In a lab in Birmingham two physicists uncover something. If their calculation is right, it will change the course of the war, if anyone will listen.

CALCULATED RISK by Ron Hutchinson
Cast: Michael Cochrane, David Yip, Rick Warden, Simon Chandler, Simon Rouse

This is the world that was made by the bomb that was dropped by the plane that we built on one day in August in 1945.

After a landslide victory in the General Election of 1945, Clement Attlee finds himself in power, and within days the A-Bomb has been dropped on Japan. The war is over, but the Iron Curtain has descended from Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic. The victorious powers have to decide how to handle a nuclear world – should Britain go it alone or shelter behind America’s skirts?

SEVEN JOYS by Lee Blessing
Cast: Rick Warden, Michael Cochrane, Simon Rouse, David Yip, Shereen Martin

A gentleman’s club opens in 40s Washington with only one member, but as the years roll by membership suddenly doubles, then 2 becomes 4 and 4 becomes 8, and so on. What are the rules? And how on earth can they stop the membership proliferating? These are the worrying questions facing the founder members.

OPTION by Amit Gupta
Cast: Tariq Jordan, Paul Bhattarcharjee, Shereen Martin

In 1964 the People’s Republic of China carried out its first nuclear weapons-test. What followed in India was an intense period of soul searching. How should a nation founded on Gandhi’s
principles of non-violence react?

In 1968 under increasingly intense pressure from the US and the Soviet Union to sign their jointly initiated Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, India finds herself at a crossroads.

For three leading civil nuclear scientists the politicians’ decision of which path to pursue will mark a turning point in all of their lives.

LITTLE RUSSIANS by John Donnelly
Cast: Tariq Jordan, Simon Rouse, Rick Warden, Natalie Armin, Daniel Rabin, Simon Chandler

The Soviet Union’s sudden collapse into chaos leaves the Ukraine and Kazakhstan with their fingers still on the nuclear button. The Russians and the Americans form an uneasy alliance to try to
locate the missing missiles. However, deep in the countryside, a Ukrainian family have other ideas, and seize their chance of making quick money on the black market. In an anarchic look at power and politics, the ambitions of two super-powers are tested by a wheeler-dealing pair of scrap metal merchants.

Second Blast (1992-2012)

A contemporary take on the non-proliferation debate looking at Israel and Iran’s nuclear capability, the “axis of evil” speech and its effect on North Korea, the U.K.’s continuing reliance on Trident in the post cold-war era, through to the current negotiations with Iran and weapons’ inspections there.

Cast: Shereen Martin, Daniel Rabin, Natalie Armin, Paul Bhattacharjee

While Israel officially has no nuclear arms programme, few doubt it has; Iran claims this gives it the right to develop its own nuclear programme. Who will be the first to blink?

When an Israeli and Iranian scientist meet at a conference in Jordan, their meeting has deep repercussions for their nations, their families and themselves.

AXIS by Diana Son
Cast: Tariq Jordan, Natalie Armin, Simon Chandler, David Yip

North Korea has always used their nuclear programme as a bargaining chip for aid. But when they suddenly find themselves branded as part of an Axis of Evil by the U.S, they prepare themselves for war.

Cast: Belinda Lang, Shereen Martin, Daniel Rabin, David Yip, Paul Bhattacharjee

In a room in the United Nations in New York the European delegation prepare for their next session on Nuclear Non-Proliferation with Iran. Suddenly a CIA agent is at the door with an Iranian nuclear scientist, and a new negotiation strategy emerges. Is this breakthrough to be trusted?

Cast: Belinda Lang, Simon Chandler

Britain has been devastated by a Nuclear strike and the Commander of a Trident submarine has to open his instructions: the letter of last resort. In Whitehall a woman struggles to write such a letter to an unimaginable future where the only safe place on the planet is under the sea in a submarine.

Cast: Daniel Rabin, Rick Warden

Two weapons inspectors are outside the gates of a Nuclear plant in Iran. They have just completed an IAEA routine inspection of the site, but they are troubled by possible deception and the enormity of their responsibility.


Creatives include Polly Sullivan (Designer) and Tom Lishman (Sound Designer).

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