Celebrating reproductive rights through song, dance and self-reflection, All Aboard! At Termination Station aims to reclaim people’s voices and empower those with lived experiences of abortion. The autobiographical comedy cabaret theatre show derives from performer and writer Lilly Burton’s personal experiences of abortion. We spoke to Lilly about the show, coming to Edinburgh Fringe this August.
Tell us a bit about your show
All Aboard! At Termination station is my debut Edinburgh fringe solo show. It’s an all singing, all dancing, comedy cabaret theatre show about my personal experience of…abortion! A disarming riot that will have you slamming down your pints in support of reproductive rights! This show is for is for the people who felt lonely, guilty, relieved – or nothing at all. For the people who think about it often and the people who don’t. For the boy who never knew, for the girl who never said and for anyone who didn’t know how to ask.
Why did you want to explore the theme of abortion through comedy and cabaret?
When I set out to start making this show, it was going to be very serious, very groundbreaking, lots of badly written spoken word poetry with drawn out metaphors that frankly even I didn’t fully understand. I tried to share some of this material with a poor friend of mine and said, “Lilly, just tell me what you mean” and I did and when I did she started to laugh. “oooooh” I thought, “this show’s supposed to be funny?” I didn’t want to explore my abortions through comedy at first but the more serious I tried to be the sillier it became, we all like to pretend to be something we’re not I suppose. I was trying to handle and treat the topic in completely the wrong way, how I thought the subject matter should be spoken about and essentially I was going against who I am and for this show, I have to be completely myself because the topic is so personal. I realised I wanted to move away from the stereotypical notion that people who access abortion are troubled or inept in some way, that something must be wrong with you. That it can’t just be for the simple fact you’re not ready or that you don’t want to have a child at all. The reason for cabaret? it encapsulates the glitter, the queerness and the campness. Essentially I had to perform in a style I felt comfortable in, so yes, comedy cabaret and not greek tragedy felt about right for me!
What would you like the audience to take away from your show?
That you can laugh and cry about your experience. A feeling of Relief, liberation and a want to talk about their experiences of abortion whether it’s their own, a friend or a partners. I’ve had mothers tell daughters after the show, I’ve had friends tell me who I never knew had been through it themselves. I want to break down internalised feelings of loneliness or isolation through people not being able to openly talk about their abortions, to normalise and destigmaise! 1 in 3 women will have had an abortion before the age of 45. So, let’s talk about it!
What’s the best thing about performing at the Fringe?
I’ve never been as a solo performer and have only gone up with a graduate theatre company and this was before I had even left drama school back in 2015. I did 52 shows over 28 days. It was exhausting but of course, it was amazing! I think it’s the feeling of possibility not knowing who you’ll meet or what you’ll see, potential- I think it makes me feel hopeful for the arts and re-enforces why I want to be in the industry.
Any tips for Fringe festival goers?
Come and see my show, climb Arthur’s seat and have a Mac and Cheese pie!
All Aboard At Termination Station is at Pleasance Courtyard, Bunker One, 2 – 28 Aug, 3.30pm https://www.pleasance.co.uk/event/all-aboard-termination-station