The festival will take place at the Barbican from the 23rd April to the 18th May.
Focusing entirely to the subject of the science of making babies and modern families, Fertility Fest is now in its third year and will explore what it means to be human when technology is changing everything.
During the four week festival, fertility and infertility take centre stage in a international programme of theatre, film, visual arts, literature, workshop and debate bringing together leading artists, specialists, patients, and audiences to explore what it means to make (and sometimes not make) babies in the 21st century.
Highlights of this year’s festival includes:
AVALANCHE: A LOVE STORY (Saturday 27 April – Saturday 18 May, Barbican Theatre): The centrepiece of the Festival will be the world premiere of a new international theatre production based on Australian writer, Julia Leigh’s acclaimed IVF memoir,Avalanche. Avalanche: A Love Story is produced by Barbican Theatre Productions and Fertility Fest and co-produced by Sydney Theatre Company.
BIG FAT FESTIVAL DAY (Friday 3 May): Fertility Fest’s signature day will put IVF under a creative spotlight with performances, screenings, talks and panel discussions, opened by actress, author and Celebrity MasterChef Winner Lisa Faulkner discussing the meaning of modern family with bestselling author Izzy Judd and Sophie Sulheria, BBC journalist and creator of BBC Radio 4’sThe Long Road To Baby alongside Dr James Nicopoullos, Consultant Gynaecologist at Lister Fertility.
The Queer Family (Wednesday 24 April): Celebrating family within the LGBTQ+ communities with creativity and conversation, including a screening of Altruistic, the award-winning short film by filmmaker Emma Edwards about the first gay male couple to become legal parents through surrogacy in the UK; author of the best-selling Human Book Dimple Devadas on the gift of sperm donation; theatre maker Stella Duffy OBE and her wife playwright Shelley Silas on their family without children; and cabaret artist Jamie Anderson presenting an extract from his new show about becoming a father for the first time as a gay, HIV positive man. In discussion with Carole Gilling Smith from Brighton & Hove’s Agora fertility clinic, a leading voice on treatment within the LGBTQ+ community.
The Invisible Man (Thursday 25 April):Unveiling the male experience of infertility is film-maker Thomas Webb with an extract from his ground-breaking documentary featuring the voices of six men going through treatment; theatre-maker Toby Peach performs from his award-winning solo show about the moment he was told he was going to be infertile aged 22; and singer songwriter Bob Strawbridge shares a deeply personal collection of songs inspired by his and his wife’s long fertility struggle. Chaired by writer and journalist Safraz Manzoor.
The Fertility Fest was founded by author and adventure activist Jessica Hepburn and theatre producer Gabby Vautier. Talking about the festival they said: “The festival has three important aims: to improve fertility education so that young people are taught more than how ‘not’ to get pregnant and are given the opportunity of creating the families they want in the future with or without science or children; to enhance mental health support for people going through IVF treatment to ensure they have the best possible outcomes whatever their fertility story, however it ends; and to raise all levels of public discourse about reproductive science – what it can do, what it can’t do and how it’s affecting the way the human race is being made today.”
For more information about the programme and the Fertility Fest visit: https://www.fertilityfest.com/.