Pain! Shame! Confusion! Or... empowering freedom and a massive relief?
Legislation around abortion is becoming more topical by the day, yet in 2017 we still find ourselves in a time where womens rights to decide over their own bodies are up for discussion. While an encouraging number of people around the world are standing up for these rights, there is a distinct focus on the rights in themselves but how often do we hear the personal stories of women who have actually gone through the experience? Why is this, even in countries where abortion is free and legal, something that women feel they cannot talk openly about? And if one is meant to forget and immediately move on after having terminated a pregnancy, and never speak about the often confusing feelings surrounding it, does free abortion actually instil any sense of freedom?
This is what our show Mission Abort explores through humour, song and some necessary lunacy. Unexpected pregnancy is currently acutely misrepresented in the arts and the media. In reality, when most women get accidentally pregnant it isn't quite like the Hollywood version. It isn't like blockbuster Knocked Up, where the 23-year-old one night stand becomes a supportive life partner over the course of nine months. In fact, 1 in 3 women in the UK have - at some point -made the choice to terminate said accidental pregnancy. So why are we not talking about it?
In a world where gag rules are coming into effect, we feel that it is crucial that we don't stay silent. And that is the reason for this show.
Rooted in personal experience, the piece follows one woman's journey from discovering she is pregnant, to making the decision, following it through and getting on with life afterwards. It is an explosive tragicomic one-hander that brings the audience on a laugh-cry rollercoaster - through fragmental time-jumps, questionable life-drawing skills, the looming voice of Donald Trump and leg-dancing to Kate Bush.
The show deals with the conflicting and tumultuous feelings that sometimes follow an abortion - the confusion of being distinctly pro-choice, and yet feeling deeply upset. It asks the question of what it means to have a right to one's own body, and how that right in itself can sometimes be a burden but it will always be a burden worth fighting for. Mission Abort is not a sob story but an empowering and humorous piece that presents a nuanced view on abortion; asking the big question - how can a choice that is so right be so hard?
We believe it is high time we crush the taboos surrounding abortion, and through this show we want to inspire and empower women (and men!) to open up the conversation.
And what better year to do it than the 50th anniversary of the UK's legalisation of abortion?
Mission Abort will see its premiere at the 70th Edinburgh Fringe in August 2017, as part of the Gilded Balloon programme. The show will be playing at the Rose Theatre, 2-28 August (not 14 Aug) at 17.45, following a series of London previews at the Hen and Chickens Theatre (4 June), the HerStory Festival at Theatre N16 (18 June), the Bunker Theatre (18 July) and Theatre 503 (24 July).
We just need a bit of help getting there!
Use of funds
We were luckily able to fund the development of the show from an initial private sponsorship from Swedish production Marlon Productions. This has seen us through the first rehearsals and previews, as well as the upfront costs for our Edinburgh venue hire. However, we still need your support to fund the running costs of the production throughout August.
As examples, though not limited to, we will need to pay for:
- Venue Cost: £2,600
- Accommodation/Travel: £1,500
- Technical support: £520
- Street marketing: £500
- Fringe registration fee: £400
- Venue publicity: £600
- Set, props and costume: £300
- Photography: £200
- Rights and insurance: £300
Some of the costs explained...
Venue costs: £2,600
This includes the minimum hire charge at £2,300 and the 4% Ticket Commission estimated at £300 (based on 30% of the tickets being sold). If we sell more tickets - obviously that is fabulous - but it does mean these costs can increase up to £8,000. We are asking for the bare minimum for you!
We would love the support of knowing we have the minimum costs covered.
Accommodation / Travel: £1,500
Therese and our Producer, Courtenay, have secured accommodation in Edinburgh for a really great price! The total for accommodation for us is £1,300 plus travel up to Edinburgh of £200. This is non optional expense so we would love some help in securing it so we can spend more time, money and effort on the show and making the best it can be.
Technical Support: £520
We are in a fantastic venue - Gilded Balloon's new Rose Theatre - and we have a fantastic team so of course, we need to pay a skilled and reliable technician to operate the show. This one is pretty simple - we have 26 performances and we need to pay our technician £20 per show, therefore, we need £520.
We are hoping to exceed our target but we need your help! We also need to raise at least £3,999 in order to access the funds so please help us spread the word in supporting Therese and the play.
Hurdles & Hopes
While we have had fantastic response to the show from venues, securing well-established theatres for previews and being invited to exciting festivals, as well as incredibly positive reactions from everyone who hears about the project, we are very aware that abortion is essentially "the final taboo". It is pretty near the last thing concerning female bodies that is not openly talked about, and the rhetoric of some "pro-life" campaigners often seems to play on the shame society places on women considering abortion as an option. Due to this controversy, it is sometimes difficult for organisations and individuals to publicly support a show that is centred around this subject. We understand this, but as a result we know that we cannot rely on organisations and corporations sponsoring the show, and Arts Council England for obvious reasons does not support work outside of England. And that is where you come in! Everything raised through crowdfunding will be going straight into the show (minus the 5% commission to Phundee for their support with the campaign). So this your chance to help make Mission Abort as strong and impactful as it can possibly be.
Through this show, we are opening up the conversation for both men and women who have gone through or might sometime go through the experience. Or know someone who has - which, in effect, makes this a show for everyone. Mission Abort/i> offers a deeply personal and nuanced depiction of the subject, and invites the audience along for the journey. We believe that empathy equals understanding, and that we as humans empathise and connect with distinctly human stories. And, ultimately, while abortion is inevitably a physically female experience - it is not just a woman's or a man's right to get to choose over one's own body. This is a human right, and therefore it concerns all of us.
7 months ago
Huge, huge thanks to everyone who has donated to this project so far - your support is invaluable and so much appreciated. We are now at 59% with 17 days to go, absolutely delighted!
We also wanted to give special thanks to all the people in Sweden who have been donating by giving or sending money directly to Ulrica Ramstedt - for security reasons the Phundee system doesn't allow the same person to donate under more than one name, but rest assured we know who you are and we are extremely grateful for all your generous donations. And massive thanks obviously to Ulrica for administrating all this and putting through the donations on these lovely peoples' behalves!