A GROUP of women are rehearsing for a play about ageing without children which will be staged during York International Women’s Festival next month.

Director Sue Lister says the Real People Theatre production, called No Kidding?, features scenes, life stories, music and poetry.

“From lonely Sundays to scam phone calls, from the grief of childlessness to scattered families, from hospital discharge to women’s experiences in Kenya, No Kidding? provides an opportunity to discuss what it means to be ageing without children,” she said.

She said millions of older women came under the AWOC (Ageing Without Children) banner. “Perhaps they couldn’t have children or never wanted to have children,” she said. “Perhaps the right partner never turned up, perhaps their children have moved away or are disabled and need help themselves. Perhaps parents and children are estranged and families broken or perhaps parents simply don’t want to be a burden on their children. All are ‘AWOCs.’”

She said one of the solutions was to form peer support, self-help and campaigning groups and AWOC York had been meeting monthly for the past two years and now had more than 100 people on its circulation list, with up to 15 meeting regularly on the second Wednesday of the month at the Cross Keys pub in Goodramgate. She said a cast of eight women had been rehearsing for No Kidding? every Saturday and there would be plenty of opportunities for audience interaction.

*”No Kidding?’ will be performed on Friday, March 9 from 7.30-9.30pm and Saturday, March 10 from 2-4 pm at Theatre 4, York St John University, Lord Mayor’s Walk. Tickets on the door are £6 and £5 concession, with details in the York International Women’s Festival brochure.” For any inquiries, phone 01904 488870.