Storyhouse Childless

A day of events to explore living without children. It is a day for building community, meeting new people and hearing people's personal stories.
  • £40 Day Pass / Members: £36
    Each ticket is subject to a £1.50 booking fee for non-members
  • Garret Theatre

What's happening in Storyhouse Childless?

A day of events to explore living without children. It is a day for building community, meeting new people and hearing people’s personal stories.

Following on from the inaugral Storyhouse Childless in 2019 which saw an audience of 90 people listen to stories from people who told their personal story how how they reached the point of defining themselves Childless. Some were stories of infertility, some were around stories of how they had wanted children but it didn’t happen, some stories were health related.

What was noticeable was that the people that attended wanted to hear these stories and wanted to meet other people that have a similar story to them. This year we have brought the one day event back with a difference and will now include a more diverse line up of stories including those of people who have chosen not to have children. Having co-curated this event with a number of experts and people working or volunteering in the community we know that there are lots of grey areas and so many reasons or stories. We can’t possibly include them all in one day.

You are welcomed into the Garret Bar and Theatre from 9am where hot drinks and breakfast will be available. Take the time to get settled or have a walk around the stunning book lined spaces of Storyhouse. The Garret bar which is situated on a fully accessible 4th floor will be turned into a creative space where you can pick up a book, paper or scribe some thoughts onto the wall posters.

At 10am the day will be launched and introduced by Dr Dawn Llewellyn. Dawn will be making audience members aware that the spaces are informal, meaning you can come and go as you need. Dawn is Child Free and is the Associate Professor in Religion and Gender at University of Chester.

The first event will see an in conversation event with Dr Dawn Llewellyn and Jody Day (Founder of Gateway Women). Jody is Childless. Together they will frame the day, talk about definitions, discuss the complexities and the similarities between people who are Childfree and Childless.

There will be three lots of 10 Minute Stories which are made up of 4 or 5 people each telling their story in 10 Minutes. These events are the perfect way to cram in the vast number of personal stories. One of the panels will be all about men and will be chaired by Yvonne John (2019 speaker and author of Dreaming of a Life Unlived).

There is an opportunity to take part in a writing workshop led by poet Betty Doyle who you can see perform later that day at the open mic event which will give the audience the opportunity to take to the stage.

Jody Day (Author of Living the Life Unexpected) will present a new piece of writing she has been working on which involves stories of things she has learnt about being childless. Jody’s stories will be accessible for people who are Childfree and Childless.

The day will close with a show by performance, director and theatre maker Victoria Firth. The one woman show How to be Amazingly Happy cuts across art forms to tell Victoria’s 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 her life as a non-mother.

How to Book
Following feedback after 2019 we have made more ticket types available to suit your needs. You can choose a Day Pass which will give you access to every event or you can book individual events if you can’t make the whole day.
Click here to buy a Day Pass.
Individual tickets available – £5 / £10

Storyhouse Childless first happened in November 2019 after the lead member of Chester Gateway Women group made the suggestion that she would like to see events and activities programmed for people who are childless. She explained how she struggles to navigate life without continuously bumping into festivals, events, theatre etc that is promoted for children and for families with children.

Who is the day for and who is it not suitable for?
The day is for people who are Childless and people who are Childfree. The day is for people who want to connect with other people who you can maybe learn from, build community or friendships with. The day isn’t about supporting people hoping or planning to have children in the future. The day is not for people who are secondary childless.

You may see, hear or use the term Childless By Circumstance or Involuntary Childlessness for people who are Childless. You may see, hear or use the term Childless by Choice for people who are Childfree. For this event and for continuity we will use the terms Childless and Childfree. If you don’t identify with either of these labels then you may find that you are somewhere on the spectrum between the two.

Please get in touch with if you would like to chat about any of the themes that will be discussed. The people contributing to the day will also be around throughout he day to make anyone attending feel welcome.

Food and Drink
If you choose to, you can attend the full day which means you could be at Storyhouse all day. It is long because we have factored in lots of breaks, a long lunch and longer dinner. This is based on the feedback we received after the 2019 event. If you would like to pre order a Storyhouse lunch box based on the Storyhouse menu please do so here. These will be delivered to the Garret Bar and Theatre. If you would like to reserve a seat for dinner please do so here. We have reserved a number of the trestle tables situated in The Kitchen (Storyhouse Restaurant) for audience members so that people can eat together giving further opportunity to meet new people.

On Stage Childless and Childfree: Walking a Shared Path
Garret Theatre

Why can it be so hard sometimes for childless and childfree people to find common ground? In this conversation, Dr Dawn Llewellyn and Jody Day will frame the day ahead and talk about the important, and often slippery nature of labels and definitions.

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On Stage 10 Minute Stories – Morning Panel
Garret Theatre

A collection of personal stories told in 10 minutes, chaired by Victoria Firth.

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Activities Writing Workshop with Betty Doyle
Garret Bar

Take part in an informal writing workshop with poet Betty Doyle. Betty will take you through some writing techniques and creative exercises to help with the writing process.

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On Stage 10 Minute Stories – Men’s Panel
Garret Theatre

A collection of personal stories told in 10 minutes, chaired by Yvonne John.

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On Stage 10 Minute Stories – Afternoon Panel
Garret Theatre

A collection of personal stories told in 10 minutes, chaired by Kirstie Higgins.

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On Stage Poetry Performance – Open Mic
Garret Theatre

This event is an opportunity to share with an audience something you have created in response to your thoughts and feelings around your story.

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On Stage The Childless Movement – Perspectives from a Decade of Changemaking
Garret Theatre

A keynote from Jody Day, psychotherapist, author, founder of Gateway Women and the leader of the childless movement

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On Stage How to Be Amazingly Happy!
Garret Theatre

A big hearted, big thinking show of storytelling and physical comedy as our heroine searches for joy, identity and belonging.

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Cinema Kings of The Road (18)

2 hr 55 | A film about friendship between Bruno, who repairs film projectors and travels along the inner-German border in his truck, and the psychologist Robert, who is fleeing from his own past.

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Cinema The American Friend (12A)

2 hr 6 | Jonathan Zimmermann believes that he will soon die of leukemia. The unscrupulous American Tom Ripley, learns of this and exploits Zimmermann’s illness for his own purposes.

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Cinema Wings of Desire (12A)

2 hr 8 | Guardian angels listen to mortals and attempt to comfort them but one of them wishes to become human after he falls in love with the beautiful trapeze artist.

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Cinema Paris, Texas (12A)

2 hr 28 | The story of Travis, a man who wanders out of Mexico and into Texas one day, in the blazing heat of the “Big Bend”.

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Cinema ROH Live: Il Trovatore (TBC)

3 hrs 25 | A devastating curse rises from the ashes in Verdi’s monumental tale of superstition and rivalry.

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Cinema ROH Live: The Sleeping Beauty (TBC)

3 hr 25 | Magic and fairytale characters are brought to life through ballet in this well-known family favourite.

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Cinema ROH Live: The Marriage of Figaro (TBC)

4 hrs | Director David McVicar brings out the revolutionary elements in Mozart’s great comic opera of intrigue, misunderstanding and forgiveness.

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Cinema ROH Live: Cinderella (TBC)

3 hrs | A new production of the much-loved Royal Ballet fairytale classic.

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Cinema ROH Live: Turandot (TBC)

3 hr 20 | Puccini’s final opera is a glorious pageant of rich colour, dance and drama in Andrei Serban’s classic staging.

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Cinema ROH Live: Like Water For Chocolate (TBC)

3 hr 10 | Christopher Wheeldon’s new full-length ballet brings the magic realism of this famous modern Mexican novel to The Royal Ballet.

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Storyhouse is a charity.
After the most challenging year in our history, we still need your support to help us recover.
Here’s how you can help support the future of Storyhouse.