“The emotional journey you’re taken on stays with you for days on end…. The visceral impact on Clem’s mental health due to her punishingly finite female fertility is so well-executed, portraying the very isolating difficulties experienced by all those who feel outmanoeuvred by a rigid biological timetable.”

Zaina Mahmoud, BioNews

 

About 500 -the average number of viable eggs a woman releases in her lifetime- explores the finite nature of female fertility and the affect that this uniquely female pressure has on contemporary women and their relationship with time. The piece experiments with form to create a visceral experience of ‘egg time’, an altered, dislocated, accelerated time endured by women when battling against biological clocks. It also uses bold imagery and documentary material to tell the story of one woman’s race against the clock, as she struggles to conceive in a world where time is already a precious economic commodity.

The average age of first conception for women in the UK is now 30 and climbing steadily. However, the cliff edge of female fertility remains brutal, dropping dramatically at 35, with the result that more and more women find themselves involuntarily childless in their 40s, which in turn has a significant, and seriously overlooked, impact on their mental health. The fundamental disparity between a punishingly finite female fertility and a potentially infinite male fertility remains an issue that our society has failed to address, and something of a blind spot for feminism.

Read interviews with writer/director Simona Hughes about how the project came about in My Theatre Mates, The New Current and The Ham and High.

During Feb-April 2022 About 500 featured at The Union theatre, The Omnibus Theatre and most recently The Kings Head Theatre, where we were joined by a panel of experts for an in-depth Q&A on the issues surrounding the play.

What next?

After our series of fantastic runs in London, the About 500 team are planning the next part of the journey, which will hopefully involve a national tour accompanied by all important fertility awareness workshops.

About 500 features:
Stephanie Fuller – Clem
Dickon Farmer- Luke
Joanna Nevin- Ruth

Creative Team
Melissa Dunne- Dramaturg
Mandy Gordon – Movement
Jack Baxter – Composer and Sound
Ryan Day – Lights
Nic Farr- Design