Killer Cells started life in January 2015, I had just experienced an ectopic pregnancy and had been told I had to have a break from trying while the doctors investigated suspected endometriosis. I wanted to write the show to share my journey through recurrent miscarriages, so that I could start the public conversation about not only my experiences but also trigger conversations about other people’s experiences.
I took an initial draft of Killer Cells to a Taith writing workshop at the Sherman Cymru, where I worked on script writing techniques with the talented Nina from SOHO theatre London. After investigating the structure and developing the characters, I created a completed first draft, which I took initially to an Equity script event and then to a National Theatre Wales workout. At NTW workout I met with Peter Scott from 3 Crate who was interested in directing the piece. Together we organised a read through which prompted a few script development ideas. I was successful in apply for an Arts Council Wales Research and Development grant and in January 2016 Peter directed an R&D sharing, which included filmed elements recorded and edited by That’s My King Pro’.
The R&D sharing was performed to recurrent miscarriage sufferers, their positive reaction encouraged me to approach the Park and Dare to organise a public performance and to apply to Ed Fringe to prepare to tour the show in 2017. The Park and Dare have been very supportive helping us with set, marketing and rehearsal space.
The Ed Fringe show went really well, I met many women and their partners, parents and friends. We were able to chat after each show and share our stories of optimism and resilience. The general feeling is that miscarriages have have gone unspoken about and sufferers are left isolated. The play alongside charities such as Tommy’s is looking to start conversations. It isn’t about being negative, it is sharing the hope that sufferers feel and preventing the isolation that is felt by many.
Finding material to write about wasn’t difficult. It was important for me to capture the online community that shares stories, there are a few facebook groups that have been set up that discuss recurrent loss and the trying for rainbow babies, 1 in 3 pregnancies result in miscarriage, so there are growing online communities sharing experiences. These communities are represented by the digital aspects of the show.
Acting in the show is myself and fellow Avant cast members Darius Nash and Yannic Budd, also included are 3 Crate actors Emma MacNab and Hannah Lloyd. Yannick, Emma and myself were part of the R&D, we have developed the characters since the R&D looking for different responses, we’ve added scenes and Peter has experimented with the blocking.
We have been lucky to receive funding from the Arts Council Wales and from the Tower Colliery fund for this production at the Park and Dare. We had a fantastic response from Audiences who joined us in Ed Fringe, we are now looking to connect with audiences in South Wales. I hope to connect with anyone who wants to share their story, anyone who wants to learn more or anybody that wants to join in a story of #optimism and #resilience.
Follow us on Twitter @killer_cells @AvantCymru
Tickets available from the Park and Dare : http://parkdare.rct-arts.org/en/booking-info/
Killer Cells Official Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=13aJGk0N2Nk
Read the Tommy’s Baby Loss Charities piece on Killer Cells here: https://www.tommys.org/our-organisation/who-we-are/tommys-news-and-views/play-killer-cells-hitting-edinburgh-fringe
Read more about ectopic pregnancy here: https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/pregnancy-complications/ectopic-pregnancy
Read more about miscarriage support here: https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/pregnancy-complications/pregnancy-loss/miscarriage/miscarriage-support
Read about Professor Jan Brosens’ research into natural killer cells here: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/med/news/news/study_gives_new/