James Nesbitt   Sheila Hancock   Clare Burt
Kirsty MacLaren   Rachel Lumberg   Scott Folan

This Is My Family

A musical by Tim Firth

Minerva Theatre
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This terrifically funny musical is a triumph


A down-to-earth delight of a musical

Daily Telegraph
The Stage
Libby Purves for Theatrecat

Imagine you’re a spirited 13-year-old and you’ve won – actually won – a magazine competition to describe your family. The prize is a dream holiday for the lot of you, anywhere in the world.

Except… Nicky’s family isn’t the blissfully happy bunch she’s described. More like the contestants in a gladiatorial arena, in fact. Where on earth can she take them that might make her wishful thinking a reality?

Winner of the 2013 UK Theatre Award for Best Musical, this hilarious musical comedy, which moves seamlessly between speech and song, is a celebration of the lifelong adventure that is family love.

Book, lyrics and music are by Tim Firth, the award-winning writer of many celebrated hits including Calendar Girls and Neville’s Island at Chichester. This Is My Family is his first original solo musical. The production is directed by Artistic Director Daniel Evans whose previous work at Chichester includes Me and My Girl and Flowers for Mrs Harris (2018), Fiddler on the Roof and Quiz (2017).

James Nesbitt (Cold Feet, The Missing) makes his Chichester debut whilst Sheila Hancock makes a welcome return; her more recent work includes Sister Act in the West End. Clare Burt also returns to Chichester following her acclaimed performance in Flowers for Mrs Harris (2018). They are joined by Kirsty MacLaren, Rachel Lumberg and Scott Folan.

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Our programmes are designed to be the perfect insightful companion to the production. This programme includes an exclusive article with Tim Firth about his connections with Chichester Festival Theatre and the development of This Is My Family. In addition it includes rehearsal photography, biographies, events and news from the Theatre.

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Prologue tickets available from 2 March


This terrifically funny musical is a triumph. As might be expected from a writer whose CV includes comedies as strong as Calendar Girls and Neville’s Island, Firth also delivers multiple terrific spoken gags and unexpected punchlines. Funny, touching, but also alert to the darker uncertainties of life, This Is My Family should certainly have further generations.


Gorgeous. Funny, truthful, wise, and bravely original in form. Anyone with a family – past, present, remembered, or merely observed in cautious auntly incredulity – should see Tim Firth’s musical.

Libby Purves for Theatrecat

Tim Firth’s This Is My Family ranks among the most down-to-earth, close-to-home musicals ever written. There’s nothing small-scale about this masterly portrait of life – with all its changing moods and testing metamorphoses – as it is led by millions. As a family outing, it’s a must but I’d say it’s open to all: this is us.

Daily Telegraph

A triumph. The show is full of love and kindness… such real emotion that you find yourself crying even while you laugh at the mayhem. Evans' direction holds it perfectly while Richard Kent's design, rotating to represent both a colourful, cluttered family home and a wild wood, provides a magnificent setting for a gentle show that lingers in the heart.


The cast is top-notch, there’s an abundance of gags and the music is stirring. Evans’ direction keeps everything running smoothly as Firth captures all the weirdness and drama, the humour and sadness, and above all, the love in family life.

The Stage

Across the three generations, the cast is superb. Sheila Hancock is the grandmother slowly losing the plot; James Nesbitt and Clare Burt are the mum and dad who’ve lost all sense of what first brought them together; and Scott Folan is excellent as the son who’s, initially at least, on another planet. Rachel Lumberg offers fine support as the well-meaning aunt. But the night, without a doubt, belongs to Kirsty MacLaren as Nicky the daughter, wise beyond her years, trying to steer the whole lot of them back on track. Hers is a beautiful performance, thoroughly engaging – and always so incredibly expressive.

Chichester Observer

The sheer calibre of the cast from national treasures like Sheila Hancock and James Nesbitt to relative fledglings such as Kirsty MacLaren as lead daughter Nicky give the first hint that this has more to offer than the storyboard suggests. No wonder the audience rose to its feet as one.

West Sussex County Times

The production is at its best when finding the beauty in the mundane workings of family life. Judging by the standing ovation at the end, this is a great way to kick off the CFT's 2019 season.

Portsmouth News

Cast & Creatives


Cast List

James Nesbitt


Sheila Hancock


Clare Burt


Kirsty MacLaren


Rachel Lumberg


Scott Folan


Creative Team

Cast List

Daniel Evans


Richard Kent


Caroline Humphris

Musical Supervisor, Musical Director & Orchestrations

David Plater

Lighting Designer

Paul Arditti

Sound Designer

Carrie-Anne Ingrouille

Movement Director

Charlotte Sutton

Casting Director




Running Time
2 hours 20 minutes, including the interval