Binge Fringe Magazine

OPINION: Toby Peach -“We’re living in a Climate Crisis that is influencing our decisions to bring new life onto our planet, both now and in the future…”

I’ve been writing about fertility since I was told mine had been impacted by the chemotherapy I needed to save my life. The theme comes up a lot in the young cancer community – particularly for those in their early 30s – as we come to terms with the impacts of treatment. It isn’t something that is often spoken about unless it has come up in your own life, so can be seen as a niche subject, but that is changing. Infertility rates are rising and conversations around the future of our planet due to the climate crisis continue to spark debate about the morality of having children. So finding ways to explore being a human who is contemplating their fertility seems important for all of us.

As an Artist, I am always looking for the most effective ways to have the conversation I want to with audiences. Over the past 2 years, Lucy Wray and I have combined our creative practice of using interactive game mechanics with creative technologists BrightBlack, to create FERTILE, an innovative theatre show that feels like a live video game.

FERTILE is about life: creating it, losing it, protecting it. Audiences will play The Great Sperm Race, a digital game on their phones, which propels them into the unknown, where they will overcome treacherous obstacles and face unbelievably high stakes to have the potential to create new life. But things aren’t as straight forward as they first seem…

In one of my previous shows, The Eulogy, I wanted to talk about the importance of research and development in cancer treatments, where hope comes from after a diagnosis, and the importance of the NHS, by crafting a story that used my experience of Hodgkin Lymphoma. The story, inspired by real life, aimed to activate an audience to connect deeply with the privilege of having a national health service – particularly when you are in need of its care. With FERTILE, the journey has been complicated; finding the parts of my own narrative to feed in has taken time to dissect – but now we’re here – with a new show that explores being fertile on an increasingly infertile planet.

We’re living in a Climate Crisis that is influencing our decisions to bring new life onto our planet, both now and in the future. This story is about how we live with the truth that is unfolding, how we cope with the overwhelming grief of living with loss, and how we still act – and play – in the face of it all. We’re delighted to be sharing FERTILE as part of a free event run by the University of Edinburgh’s ‘Pioneering a Fertile Future’ event.  You can join us by picking up a ticket here.

Toby Peach

Toby is co-creator of Fertile.

Pronouns: He/Him