Emily Steel
19 Weeks

“unflinchingly honest”—The Guardian
“We leave, changed. That is what theater is about.”—Glam Adelaide

In June 2016, playwright Emily Steel had a termination at 19 weeks after her baby was diagnosed with Down Syndrome. When she told people about it afterwards she expected them to judge her, but instead they told her stories in return—about abortions they’d had to keep secret, miscarriages they couldn’t really talk about, struggles with IVF. This was the inspiration for 19 weeks—telling her story publicly to encourage more openness and understanding. It’s sad and funny, familiar and surprising, not self-righteous or guilt-ridden but complex and truthful. Come sit by the (virtual) pool, put your feet in the water, and listen.

Some (perhaps surprising) statistics: 18% of US pregnancies (excluding miscarriages) in 2017 ended in abortion. The abortion rate in the US in 2017 was 13.5 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44. 13% of couples in the US struggle to get pregnant at all. These experiences are common, but they can make you feel very alone.

In the US, there are projects like the 1 in 3 Campaign and the Sea Change Program that work to end the stigma around experiences like abortion, pregnancy loss and infertility by sharing women’s personal stories.

Our hope is that, with 19 weeks, we can help open up this conversation.

Performed by Tiffany Lyndall Knight. 2018 tour directed by Nescha Jelk, with music by Josh Belperio.

Original 2017 production directed by Daisy Brown, with music by Mario Späte.