Birthing Expectations

James Burns

James Burns

On Monday the 14th of October Funny Women is proud to be supporting Shaky Isles Theatre's 'Raising Expectations' a charity event in aid miscarriage awareness during Baby Loss Awareness week, with Jenny Eclair, Viv Groskop, Lucy Porter and more. 'Raising Expectations' is the creation of Stella Duffy and Emma Deakin. Here Emma explains her reasons for being involved with the project. 

Shaky Isles Theatre is my brain child. I am a New Zealander in London, an actress, and founded Shaky Isles in 2006 out of my own creative boredom. Its life began by hosting play readings of New Zealand scripts downstairs in pubs. More people joined, a company began to form, plays were staged. Mostly New Zealand scripts but as we expanded (ie not ALL kiwis) so did the kind of work we wanted to make.

Almost eight years old now, we make work in Open Space and have more recently begun to use Action Learning. Our work is as it says on the tin – Physical, lyrical, its story. Of home and where home is now, of New Zealand, of London – and everything in between.

Our forthcoming show, 'Expectations' is my first play. It came from my experience of having a miscarriage in January 2011. I had not expected to get pregnant and had not expected to decide to keep it. But keep it I did. Until I lost it. It was incredibly sad, painful, heartbreaking, and I have thought of my baby everyday since. At the hospital on the night I began to miscarry my good friend and I were in a cubical waiting for gynaecology (we had a severe case of maddening A&E cabin fever!) and thought it would be hilarious to write a play called 'Waiting For Gyno.' This moment was truly tragedy smacking right up against comedy.

In January 2012 (exactly a year after my miscarriage whilst working with a children’s theatre company in Barcelona) I wrote the play about my miscarriage, 'Waiting Room.' It had a successful pilot run at the Camden Fringe Festival the following August. The play has since undergone massive re-writes and has, what I feel, exploded out into a wider more accessible story, called 'Expectations.' A play about miscarriage and infertility. 'Expectations' is a funny, physical, energetic and touching piece about life, fate, hope – and choice.

After my experience I wanted to talk about miscarriage because so few people do. I realised how common it was and wanted to create space for people to share and have dialogue about their experiences. I made a conscious effort to talk about my own miscarriage and to find the smile within the pain – and it made all the difference.

Emma Deakin is the director of Shaky Isles Theatre

Expectations is playing at the Pleasance Islington from Tuesday the 5th to Sunday 24th November (Tuesday to Saturday at 7.45pm and Sun at 6pm) and is directed by Stella Duffy.

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