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parthenos + genesis = of asexual origin

Since the late 1800s, the medical profession has diagnosed people who expressed little interest in sex with ‘sexual coldness’, or ‘sexual anaesthesia’.


parthenogenesis: is one woman’s quest for an orgasm – despite not wanting one. It is her self-seduction, with love letters addressed to you from the perspective of those like her, writing in invisible ink; their thoughts only revealed through acid and flame. To many, she is merely an attention-seeking millennial with an ‘internet orientation’. If she really wanted to, she could always self-medicate with the ‘right person’, injected deep inside her.


She isn’t healthy. She isn’t well. She isn’t right. That's what we all say.


“Because who would invest time and effort into a relationship that isn't going to get them any sex?”


Contrary to popular belief, she isn’t alone.

This interdisciplinary (n)one-woman performance aims to start a conversation about love and sex, and how society has hardwired us to believe that we are unable to be whole without either. The audience is taken on a short museological journey of asexuality through time, and the marginalised lineage of the concept; from being a medical anomaly in the 1890s, to anti-racist strategies in the 1970s, to hard-won LGBTQ+ recognition in the 21st century. As an interactive installation of deconstruction and emotion, the work seeks to encourage an understanding of diverse experiences. The performance draws upon raw testimony, found text and scientific research, interdisciplinary multimedia collaborations, site-responsive architectural excavation, museological experimentation (where artefact labels can be rewritten), and visual poetry – the fusion unfolding in a space underground where the journey is a descent from the outside. The production was designed to be immersive, intimate, introspective; a place where conversations happen in the dark. 

parthenogenesis: is as much a performance about absence as it is a plea for presence.

Commissioned for The Substation's highly-anticipated SeptFest 2020 festival of new work, the production was staged from 20th - 26th September 2020 at the historic theatre space after two months of intense collaboration and rehearsal. It was selected and recommissioned for the venue's official season the following year, with redeveloped hybrid exhibition-performances from 16th - 20th March 2021 in the building's atmospheric SAD Bar basement. Further documentation of the show can be found here.


The all-womxn core creative team comprised of accomplished performer Alia Alkaff and award-winning multimedia / graphics artist Angeline Glen Tomara, with our artistic director Rebecca helming the team as director / writer. The key visual was devised in an international collaboration with designer Simran Hemnani. Photography by multidisciplinary creative Thomas Brunning.

Supported by:

Abstract Desert


"Asexuality / aromanticism are subjects that few people (even within queer communities) know about - so this work would be an important milestone as an introduction to an even ‘more marginalised’ (or less known about at least) identity. So I think this work is important! Fantastic multimedia work!"

"parthenogenesis:, directed and developed by Rebecca Goh, founder of from (a)basement theatre collectiveis experimental theatre at its best..."

"The use of visceral text, graphics and physicality to convey the struggles and conflict-fraught journey of the character..."

"The writing and performance were thought-provoking. Would love to see more shows like this."

"The visuals were amazing - it took me a while to get into it but by the end I was very absorbed. Also very enlightening about asexuality as well - thank you for sharing!"

"I felt a lot of things - or resonated with a lot of the key messages and narratives. The intimacy of it all!"

"I think the usage of technology was interesting here - the virtual space, real but not actual, used to embody digital space and the nature of online discussion and how that applies to asexuality is definitely something very intriguing..."

"My favourite production of the festival!"

"I loved the setting and the concept. The museum form was interesting, felt awkward (in a good way!) to subvert the conventions of performance + turn scrutiny into those who scrutinise."

"The visuals were an experience, at one point the ‘eyes’ were projected on me and I felt complicit in the negative perceptions and thoughts about asexual people. I did feel seen too, with the experiences being shared, like platonic relationships are very important even though most people don’t prioritise them as much."

"Very relieved to have caught the show. Really reminded me of theatre in the 90s where it was more experimental and subversive; the way this show was directed, written, and performed, is particularly reminiscent of The Substation’s programming of the past, where many pieces of raw theatre like this were produced. Glad to see young theatre-makers creating this kind of work again. This piece really pushed the form of the art... and is definitely something worth exploring further."

"The visuals are so stunning and embodied the text perfectly. Well-researched and the impulses were emerging..."

"Love sitting in an intimate space with the performer. The ‘safe space’ was created with the light box and it works because all around us was dark. It was like performance art."

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