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Quarantine was established in 1998 by directors Richard Gregory and Renny O’Shea with designer Simon Banham. We make original theatre, performance and public events with and about the people who are in it. Whatever form it takes, our work begins and ends with the people in the room. for nearly 25 years, we've collaborated with a shifting constellation of artists, performers and people who've never done anything like this before. Our work seeks to create the circumstances for a conversation between strangers...


Made and performed by three generations of a Glaswegian family, the Watermans, Butterfly was an investigation of the public and the private, what we show and what we hide. It took the form of a large-scale family party, with a cash bar, a lovely spread and 250 mirror balls. As with Susan & Darren, audiences were as much guests at a party as they were spectators at a performance.

The Waterman family was recruited after a local publicity campaign. Gail Waterman picked up a leaflet in the local museum, and persuaded her sister Heather, her parents Robert and Patricia and her three children, Blair, Ellen and Lauren, to take part.

Why we made Butterfly

Butterfly looked at ideas around family and belonging, at the contradictions and complications of the relationships that none of us ask for, at the accident of being born into a set of people that we’re stuck with for life. Like all good parties, secrets and laughs were spilled. We never promised it wouldn’t end in tears.

…this piece has genuine heart, humour, honesty and love. Take a hankie and someone to hug.
Mary Brennan, The Herald

Butterfly was Quarantine’s second commission from Tramway. It was created during an eight-week residency in Glasgow.

“You get a sense that for everyone concerned, there are no safety nets. But neither [Richard] Gregory nor the Watermans seem to feel they need them. ‘I ask the questions, but if anything comes out through our conversations that they don’t want to go into the show, then they can veto it,’ says Gregory. The family are fine with that. ‘I don’t think that doing Butterfly has changed our relationships as a family,’ says Gail. ‘But it has made us more aware of each other as individuals.’

So, after two months of working on the project, is Gregory any closer to answering his question about what a family is? He laughs. ‘I was talking to an academic – a psychologist – about the piece and I was saying it was bizarre that all I can find that identifies what a family is, is genetics and familiarity with each other. He just looked at me and said, ‘What more do you want?'”

Extract from Lyn Gardner’s article And this is me, The Guardian 

Resources available

The whole thing might be the bastard offspring of the Wooster Group crossed with the Osbournes – radical reality theatre. Robert Dawson-Scott, The Times

Credits and performance details

Performers: Heather Gray; Patricia Kelly; Robert Kelly; Blair Waterman; Ellen Waterman; Gail Waterman; Lauren Waterman.

Conceived and directed by Richard Gregory; designer Simon Banham; choreographer Vanessa Smith; lighting designer Mike Brookes; dramaturg Donna Rutherford.


Production details

Commissioned by and produced at Tramway Glasgow, October 2004