In my last blog I wrote about the Fertility Show and this week I want to tell you about a different kind of fertility show which is the centerpiece of a festival that I’m going to be involved in next year. It’s exciting – although an arts marketer I worked with a long time ago said you should never use that adjective as it’s overused. Throughout my career, I’ve done my best to follow her advice and avoid it but I AM excited, really excited. It’s the first time that my worlds of IVF and theatre are going to collide.
The show is called The Quiet House, a new play by the award-winning writer Gareth Farr. It’s a beautiful piece about a couple going through IVF and it will play at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre for two weeks in May before transferring to the Park Theatre in London for five weeks in June.
And alongside the show which is being produced by my wonderful friend and colleague Gabby Vautier of Echo Presents, I will be programming the first ever arts festival in the UK exploring assisted conception and alternative routes to parenthood which will take place on Saturday 28th May (in Birmingham) and Sunday 11th June (in London). In both cities the festival will be a day-long event of theatre, music, film, visual arts, literature, discussion and debate featuring a range of amazing artists and leading medical experts. Together they’ll discuss one of the most significant scientific and social phenomena of our times and the emotional impact it has on the individuals involved. Everything will be under the artistic microscope – from the IVF experience to egg and sperm donation; from same sex to single parenthood; from surrogacy and adoption to childlessness. It’s a festival for people who want to say something about the issues as well as those who just want to listen; for people who want to celebrate science’s ability to give anyone and everyone a family to those who think that nature shouldn’t be meddled with; and for people for whom the IVF dream came true as well as those for whom it didn’t.
The tickets to the show and the festival are now on sale in London (Birmingham to follow soon), and the full programme will be announced next year. Don’t worry, I’ll make sure you’re the first to hear. But if you want to come – and I hope you will – do book the dates now and I look forward to seeing you there in what I hope will be one of the most EXCITING national arts events of 2016.