Global Belly_ZOOM

A Zoom performance about transnational surrogacy

The unfulfilled desire to have children drives couples from Germany and Switzerland abroad. They entrust surrogates in India, the US and Ukraine to deliver their children. These ‘intending parents’ duck legal boundaries and enter unknown moral ground. Flinn Works has undertaken research in all five countries in order to gain a deeper understanding of gestational surrogacy. Is it a blessing of modern medicine or a neocolonial act? Is bearing the child of a stranger work or charity? How do we compensate this ‘labour of love’? Since transnational surrogacy became illegal in countries such as India and Thailand, follicles, embryos and surrogates are being flown around the globe. Where the desire for a child meets biotechnology, children will find a way into the world. So they exist and they need passports. But which ones? Global Belly portrays people embroiled in the surrogacy industry. Professional agents meet content surrogates and argumentative feminists encounter loving fathers-to-be. With its ethical complexity and emotional polarisation, its legal grey zones and its medical realities the industry comes alive on the Zoom stage. Flinn Works’ immersive and interactive stage play (2017) has toured widely to critical acclaim. The Zoom version is new, updated and addresses a global online-audience.

Language: ENGLISH
Duration: 90 Minutes

The 2021 Zoom Performance is a Flinn Works and Sophiensæle Production

A project by: Anne Hoffmann, Matthias Renger, Sonata, Crystal Travis, Jennifer Lynn Tune, Lea Whitcher (performance), Sophia Stepf (Direction), Team Global Belly  & Lisa Stepf  (Research and Text), Dr. Anika König (consultation) Jörg-Martin Wagner (Music), Marc Jungreithmeier (Video Design), Philine Rinnert (Stage and Costume Design) Konradin Kunze (Zoom Host), Alice Harrison (Assistant Director) Marit Buchmeier, Lisanne Grotz / xplusdrei Produktionsbüro (Management)

The 2021 Zoom Performance is a Flinn Works and Sophiensæle Production

The 2022 shows are funded by Fonds Darstellende Künste as part of Neustart Kultur using funds from the German Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media


2021: with Sophiensæle Berlin: June 24 & 25 & 26 // 2022: with Sophiensæle Berlin: March 23, 24, 25, 26  / with University of Texas at Austin: March 28 / with Goethe-Institute Bangalore: April 3 / with Global Conversations Towards Queer Social Justice research network / University of Cambridge: May 20 / with Goethe-Institut New Zealand: May 21 / with Goethe-Institut Israel, Tmuna International Festival for Theatre & Tammuz Family: December 10 and 11 // 2023: with Institut für Ethik und Geschichte der Medizin, Universitätsmedizin Göttingen: November 14


“Somehow contradictions can coexist, just as an audience member can be transformed from a surrogate mother into a gay father. With ‘Global Belly’, Flinn Works have created a sensational, clever and complex work, which deals with a topic that is as emotionally and existentially charged like few others - and therefore appears made for the theater. But it also examines the much larger context: the global distribution of privileges is subtly illuminated on the basis of fertility industry, as is the rapid shifting of ethical boundaries in society.''

theater heute 8/2018

Feedback from audiences (Zoom chat, june 2021)

16:41:04 Von Sophiensaele Dramaturgie : Bravo - Applaus

16:41:16 Von belalehrnickel : Amazing! Bravo

16:41:23 Von Rashi Mishra : applause applause ! Virtual mein itna hi ho sakta hai!!

16:48:40 Von Ezra Kneebone : I really enjoyed all the interactive parts, especially the polls.

16:48:31 Von Theresa Stork : Sorry, I have to go. And sorry I couldn’t turn on my camera. I just wanted to tell you that I think YOUR PERFORMANCE WAS AMAZING!

16:48:38 Von D Johanna : I liked that everyone got a role in the breakout sessions, that was funny and made it a very personal show. I really liked the feminism part.

17:01:41 Von Douglas Whitcher : I love the feminist debate. Is it better, or am I listening better? It's very kick-ass!


19:40:16 Von Nisha Abdulla (she/her) : Congratulations everyone! What a wonderful show!

19:40:24 Von Gillian Castle : Really well done from here in England!

19:41:04 Von Stellis : It was quite supripsing, and overwhelming.

19:42:56 Von Joy : Great translation to the digital world!

19:46:29 Von Joy: It worked really well to have the gatherings on Zoom, because it makes total sense in the international context of the meetings!

19:46:30 Von Marsha : It was very multidimensional - both in terms of time and perspectives. The music was great.

19:46:38 Von Rainer Glaap : Being part kept me on the edge of my seat, so to speak.

19:46:40 Von Alexandra_Althoff : Neues Thema, sehr verstörend, regt an, sich damit mehr zu beschäftigen.

19:47:08 Von Tanvi Shah : I was a Ukranian surrogate, a friend of a gay couple pursuing surrogacy, and a 9 month pregnant Indian surrogate mother. It was startling to inhabit those different worlds.

19:47:35 Von Gillian Castle : I have never seen anything like this before. I thought the way that different videos were embedded was very clever and eye catching. The acting was fantastic. Brilliant to see the different perspectives of each participant in surrogate process.

20:08:20 Von Karlotta : Great great great format! Loved the many variations and didn’t know you can do all that in Zoom.

20:09:00 Von Dana Potthast : I loved this! It made me question my point of view and I simply love that I will ponder on this for the next while. I am astonished, that digital theater could do this. Great job everyone!