Michelle Bonnard and Tom Walker Lead THE QUIET HOUSE at Park Theatre

The Quiet House, Gareth Farr's blistering and honest new play about a couple's journey to start a family, will play at Park Theatre from June 7 to July 9, with a press night on June 8, following its world premiere at Birmingham Repertory Theatre next month. It was inspired by Gareth's own experience, and is his second play following his 2014 Bruntwood Prize-winning debut, Britannia Waves The Rules.

Jess and Dylan are in love. They want a family. That's all they have ever wanted. This ordinary couple find themselves on an extraordinary journey when they enter the world of IVF. Forced to fight for the family they so desperately want, they put their faith in science and their relationship through the ultimate test.

The cast includes Michelle Bonnard as Jess, with actor and comedian Tom Walker, AKA YouTube sensation Jonathan Pie, as Tony, Allyson Ava-Brown as Kim, and Oliver Lansley (Artistic Director of Olivier-nominated company Les Enfants Terribles) as Dylan.

Gareth Farr said: "I didn't write this play as a form of therapy. I wrote it on the back of four years of fertility treatment during which I became interested in writing about something which people - particularly men - just weren't talking about. This play is about hope. It's about anyone who has focused so fiercely on the notion of hope, and clung to it so tightly, that it either breaks or it hardens and becomes a tangible thing."

Tessa Walker, Associate Director at Birmingham Repertory Theatre, directs The Quiet House following her recent productions of Tom Wells's Folk (The REP, Hull Truck and Watford Palace Theatre), Steven Camden's Back Down (UK tour) and The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (The REP). Tessa was previously the Literary Director at Paines Plough and a Literary Associate at the National Theatre of Scotland.

Accompanying the production will be a one day Fertility Fest at each venue (May 28 in Birmingham and June 11 at Park Theatre) both curated by Jessica Hepburn, author of the bestselling book The Pursuit of Motherhood, and bringing together over 20 of the country's leading writers, visual artists, theatre-makers, film directors and composers for a day of discussion and debate about making (and not making) babies in the modern way. Topics under the artistic microscope include facing the diagnosis of infertility, IVF, donation, surrogacy, the male experience, egg freezing, involuntary childlessness and alternative routes to parenthood.

Jessica Hepburn said: "Fertility Fest will be a unique and uncompromising look at the pursuit of parenthood in the modern world. I think the thing that thrills me most is the number and breadth of acclaimed artists that have agreed to be involved, including those who have already made work on this subject, as well as others that are putting their interest in it into the spotlight for the first time. It's a topic that has to be talked about more because despite affecting so many people it's still a taboo. I hope Fertility Fest 2016 will begin to change this because I fundamentally believe that great artists tell it like it is and this is a subject that the world needs to hear more about."

Fertility Fest bookings include artist Tabitha Moses, poet Julia Copus and West End director Matthew Dunster, as well as some of the country's foremost medical experts, such as Professor Geeta Nargund, Medical Director at CREATE Fertility, Allan Pacey, Professor of Andrology at the University of Sheffield School of Medicine, and Laura Witjens, Chief Executive of the National Gamete Donation Trust.

The full programme for Fertility Fest 2016 can be found at www.fertilityfest.com

For more information and to book tickets for The Quiet House, visit www.parktheatre.co.uk

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From This Author Marianka Swain

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