Fertility Fest 2019 Programme: Over 200 Artists & Fertility Specialists






Fertility Fest 2019: Barbican, London
Tuesday 23 April – Saturday 18 May 2019

Over 200 artisist and fertility spcilaist including:

MAXINE PEAKE Award winning theatre, television and film actress
LISA FAULKNER Actress & Celebrity MasterChef Winner
STELLA DUFFY OBE Theatre-maker
IZZY JUDD Author & Podcaster
KAT FRANCOIS World Poetry Slam Champion
TABITHA MOSES Liverpool Art Prize Winner
SAFRAZ MANZOOR Writer & Journalist
JESSICA HEPBURN Author & Adventure Activist
BIBI LYNCH Journalist & Broadcaster
RICKY MARTIN Winner of The Apprentice
ANN DANIELS Record-Breaking Polar Explorer
AILEEN FEENEY Fertility Network UK
SOPHIE SULHERIA BBC Radio 4’s The Long Road To Baby
JODY DAY Gateway Women
VICTORIA MACDONALD Channel 4’s Health & Social Care Correspondent
DR BENJAMIN ABRAMOV Gennet City Fertility EMMA CANNON Natural Health Specialist
RUTH BENDER ATIK Miscarriage Association
PROFESSOR JACKY BOIVIN Reproductive Psychologist, Cardiff University

Fertility Fest, the only arts festival devoted entirely to the subject of the science of making babies and modern families, is now in its third year. This latest, expanded edition of Fertility Fest runs from 23 April – 18 May and is presented in association with the Barbican as part of the 2019 season, Life Rewired, exploring what it means to be human when technology is changing everything.

Fertility and infertility take centre stage in a four-week 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.

Fertility Fest is a rare, open and collaborative platform driving social change, and is at the forefront of how people are thinking about and supporting people to make modern families today. Using the communicative and transformative power of the arts, it has been integral to the explosion of interest in a subject previously largely hidden, but now a growing part of public conversation and popular culture with programmes such as Netflix’s Private Life and Nina Raine’s play Stories at the National Theatre.

It was founded by author and adventure activist Jessica Hepburn and theatre producer Gabby Vautier, who present two very different stories of IVF: Jessica went through 11 rounds of unsuccessful treatment; Gabby is the mother of 4-year-old IVF twin girls.

Jessica and Gabby 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.’

Since its inception, the festival has helped bring about tangible improvements in UK healthcare practice including new approaches to providing emotional support for patients going through IVF treatment; developments in mental health care for men experiencing infertility; and improved follow up post treatment – all of which were virtually non-existent when Jessica and Gabby were patients.

Alongside this year’s main programme, there will be satellite festivals taking place nationally and internationally including a new partnership with UK’s largest patient event The Fertility Show in both Manchester (23/24 March 2019) and London (2/3 November 2019) as well as ESHRE Vienna (24-26 June 2019), the world’s largest fertility industry conference attended by 13,000 fertility professionals.

This year also sees the next stage of Fertility Fest’s campaign to improve fertility education in schools – The Modern Families Project. Six emerging artists aged 18 to 24 will be recruited to take over the Barbican’s new Life Rewired Hub from 6 – 12 May transforming it into an ‘installation of ideas’ which will result in a new piece of digital campaigning artwork to be launched on World Fertility Day 2019.

Toni Racklin, Head of Theatre at the Barbican, said: “We are thrilled to welcome Jessica and Gaby to the Barbican along with the many artists, speakers, collaborators and funders who are participating to make this the biggest Fertility Fest yet. In our Life Rewired year – an arts and learning season exploring what it means to be human when technology is changing everything – Fertility Fest reflects the theme perfectly, exploring the complex and evolving subject of fertility and infertility in the inspiring and creative environment of the Barbican. Taking place in our Theatre, The Pit and our specially created Life Rewired Hub on Level G, Fertility Fest really will take centre stage in April and May. We look forward to welcoming audiences to this exciting, multifaceted, month-long event.”

For yje full programme information visit: www.fertilityfest.com

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