CAN you find happiness without children?

That's the question posed by Victoria Firth in her one-woman show How to be Amazingly Happy!, which comes to the studio at York Theatre Royal on Friday, October 25.

Victoria says the show is bitter sweet: funny and sad. She says: "It cuts across art forms to tell my autobiographical story of wondering whether to have kids, seeking medical intervention, coming up empty handed and ultimately exploring coming to terms with and discovering what to do with the second half of my life as a non-mother. It includes storytelling, physical comedy, clowning techniques, audio recordings and live art influences."

For Victoria, now in her 40s, part of that "moving on" was becoming a performer and writing her show, which premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe last year.

She said: "I hope the show will resonate with the many woman not sure whether to have kids or without the right partner/circumstance to match their white picket fence dreams, the many people who have IVF, those that don’t, won’t or can’t have children and how they build a life outside of the accepted trajectory.

"Family diversity is greater than ever but there is still very little social validation for women who don’t have kids.

"On the surface of it the show is about frivolous escapades into finding that elusive joy, fulfilment and life balance that most people are searching for.

"Under the surface it’s taking a look at these things in the context of not having children. I think a lot of woman end up in complicated discussions with themselves about whether to have children, how to do it if they’re single, or in a same sex relationship, find out they can’t have kids or missed the window, try IVF and fail and/or are worried what life looks like without taking that step."

Victoria is taking the show on a national tour and hopes the play will resonate with lots of people because levels of childlessness are increasing. For those born in 1946 just nine per cent had no children at 45 – the age the ONS defines as the end of childbearing years. For women born in 1971 this figure has risen to 18 per cent. Around one in seven couples may have difficulty conceiving, around 3.5 million people in the UK. Some 47,422 women are receiving IVF, most of whom will be disappointed because the treatment fails 70 per cent of the time.