On ageing without children
From lonely Sundays, to the grief of scattered families, No Kidding? is a play exploring what it means to get older when you don't have kids
Millions of older people come under the Ageing Without Children or “AWOC” banner.
Perhaps they couldn’t have children, or simply didn't want any. What if the right partner never turned up? Or their children moved away? Maybe their children are disabled and need help themselves. Parents and children may become estranged, or families broken for a number of reasons. Or perhaps, parents just don’t want to be a burden on their children. All are "AWOCs”.
AWOC York started four years ago when founder Kirsty Woodard realised that this was not only a personal issue, but that government policies and statements kept referring to “the family” and “your children” as the support on hand when social services can’t keep up.
Yet, for millions of people, there just isn’t that kind of support available. And that’s what AWOC York believe needs to be put on the agenda of national and local government, private companies and charities working with older people all over the country - an awareness that not everyone has children or a family.
It’s all part of a wider picture of supporting older people with loneliness and isolation. One of the solutions is to form peer support, self-help and campaigning groups in every part of UK. Another, is through art...
Founder of Yorkshire-based, women's theatre company The Real People Theatre, Sue Lister is now directing her 19th show for York International Women’s Festival in the form of No Kidding?, a play built around the theme of people ageing alone.
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? is a play made up of a cast of eight women, a collage of scenes, life stories, music and poetry to provide an opportunity to discuss what it means to be ageing without children in 2018.
NO KIDDING? runs Friday 9 March and Saturday 10 March at Theatre 4, York St John University, York YO31 7EX and is wheelchair accessible.
AWOC York meets monthly and has over 100 people on its circulation list. (Anyone interested in coming along to a meeting can reach coordinator Sue Lister, on 01904 488870).
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