Monday, 2 July 2018

Gay or Queer: Victoria Firth @ Edfringe 2018

No kids – now what?

A mid-life quest for joy, identity and belonging in this big-hearted show of storytelling and physical comedy
Fringe debutant Victoria Firth didn’t know if she wanted kids, but didn’t get them anyway. In this live, raw and immediate show she tells us of seeking medical intervention, coming up empty handed and ultimately coming to terms with her position and discovering what to do with the second half of her life as a non-mother.

This funny, physical, playfully entertaining and occasionally provocative show will resonate with the many woman - and their partners – who are unsure if they want a family.  Or lack the right partner/circumstances to match their white picket fence dreams. Also the many people who have IVF, those that don’t, won’t or can’t have children and looks at how they build a life outside of the accepted trajectory. Family diversity is greater than ever but there is still very little social validation for childless women.

Would you identify your show as 'gay' or 'queer'? What makes you define the show with this label?Queer. The show isn’t telling an exclusively gay story but even if it was I would want it to appeal to a range of audiences. I’m not sure what a ‘gay’ show would be. I understand queer as being something out of the ordinary, bold and delicious.

What differences do you see between the labels 'gay' and 'queer'?
I see ‘gay’ as a description of people who have same sex relationships, or sex, or who identify with that sexuality. I still see it as a predominantly male term although it is in common usage now for all sexes. ‘Queer’, for me, is more to do with identity politics. 

I used to identify with queer because of a sense of otherness, a sense of being different from the prevailing culture and I hold to it now as a political act. I think it speaks to everyone who feels different in some way - whether that way is marginalised or celebrated. 

It stands against limiting or reductive categories and acknowledges change and choice as part of the truth of people’s identity.

Why do you think I am asking this
question, particularly of your show?

I’ve put it out there by choosing to use the LGBT tag in the Fringe brochure.
 I’ve done that because my show is talking about how we make our own lives and find happiness especially when dreams we’ve been sold, or bought into, don’t work out. 

There’s specific reference to having children because for me that’s an area of life whether there’s so much internalised expectation and judgement, worry and indecision and not enough permission and diversity. I want people to know that the show is opening up this terrain in a permissive and non-binary way. 

Additionally I ticked ‘LGBT’ because I want people who identify in that way, or who are looking for LGBT work (whatever that is!) to find it and know that they are welcome and acknowledged. There’s so much more choice around now but when I was younger I was really hungry and excited to find anything that reinforced and inspired the possibilities and identities that were becoming ‘me’.
I hope my performance will fuel everyone in finding their way to happiness - whatever it ends up looking like

Victoria said ‘On the surface the show is about frivolous escapades into finding that elusive joy, fulfilment and life balance that most people are searching for. Under the surface it’s taking a look at these things in the context of not having children. I think a lot of woman end up in complicated discussions with themselves about whether to have children, how to do it if they’re single, or in a same sex relationship, find out they can’t have kids or missed the window, try IVF and fail and/or are worried what life looks like without taking that step.”
Victoria is a performer, theatre maker and director from Yorkshire who believes theatre should be joyful and full of heart. She has been Director of Yorkshire’s Lawrence Batley Theatre, one of the country’s best-known and respected regional receiving theatre’s, since 2007. After experiments with tap dancing, running, baking, clowning, cabaret and stand up comedy she felt a call to action, a belief in herself to make HOW TO BE AMAZINGLY HAPPY when attending one of Bryony Kimmings’ theatre making workshops. It is her first full length solo show.

For women born in 1946 just 9% had no children at 45, 
for those born in 1971 this figures doubles to 18%
Approximately 3.5 million people in the UK have difficulty conceiving, around 1 in 7 couples
Over 47,000 women are currently receiving IVF. The treatment has a 70% failure rate 
Listings information: How to be Amazingly Happy
Pleasance Courtyard, Below (Venue 23)   
1-27 Aug  (not 13, 14)      
11.35am (60 mins)     

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