‘As Is’ HIV Theatre Show Q + A – Women, HIV and self-determination – in conversation with Natalie Burt in conversation with Silvia Petretti


‘As Is’ Natalie Burt in conversation with Silvia Petretti ‘Deputy Chief Executive Officer for Positively UK, a leading provider of peer support to people living with HIV’ at this free Post Show Event after ‘As Is’ by William M. Hoffman at Trafalgar Studios. ‘As Is’ Natalie Burt and Director Andrew Keates and Silvia we will be discussing the role of theatre for social change and women’s empowerment in the context of HIV today.

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July 28th 2015, Studio 2, Trafalgar Studios, 14 Whitehall, London SW1A 2DY – Show 7.45pm / Q+A 9.15pm

This discussion will follow the play which starts at 7.45pm (details below – get your tickets quick – limited seating). ‘As Is’ is the award-winning and highly acclaimed new HIV theatre show in London’s west-end highlighting the recent turbulent history of the HIV / AIDS pandemic. The show shines a light on the need for more HIV activism today as the cuts to HIV education and prevention services continue to marginalise the HIV community.

Thought that HIV+ was a gay man’s issue?

Think Again!

Did you know that HIV/AIDS is one of the greatest threats to women’s health? Every day, nearly 2,500 women are newly infected with HIV around the world? In sub-Saharan Africa where the epidemic has hit hardest, HIV is spread primarily through heterosexual sex, and women (during vaginal sex) are more likely to be infected than men? HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of death for women of reproductive age (15-44) worldwide? HIV/AIDS is also one of the leading causes of death for pregnant women and mothers in developing countries, and is a major barrier to global efforts to reduce maternal mortality?

This key ACT UP LONDON 2015 campaign is focused specifically on issues relating to women and HIV. On the whole HIV positive women remain an underrepresented and marginalised group when it comes to public awareness relating to HIV. We want to tackle the widespread notion that HIV is solely a gay male disease and push the public to consider HIV as a disease that doesn’t  discriminate, regardless of someone’s age, race, sexual orientation or gender. Cuts to women’s services have a direct impact upon women living with HIV. Access to charities and peer support groups is of great importance when it comes to managing one’s health and wellbeing and we want to ensure that women have full access to these services. This means an end to cuts to women’s groups and HIV support funding in general. We also want to abolish stigma for women living with HIV.  HIV positive women remain a minority within a minority and face widespread stigma because of their status. Stigma translates into high levels of gender based violence forcing women to conceal their status and stopping them from accessing medication, speaking to health care professionals and reaching out for general support. Our action places women  at its centre. We aim to create a 16 day social and physical media campaign in the lead up to World AIDS Day taking the form of an empowering photo series depicting women with HIV. On World AIDS day itself we hope to grab the attention on the Government to address all forms of discrimination against women and HIV. We hope to do this by rolling out enlarged versions of our photos outside relevant places, making a lot of noise and enacting a colourful, queer, celebratory anti-fashion show using HIV positive models and performers.

Find out more! Please share the next meeting with everyone you think will appreciate! – ACT UP London is a diverse, non-partisan group of individuals united in anger and committed to direct action to end the HIV pandemic. We are part of the global ACT UP network. See http://www.actuplondon.wordpress.com for more info.

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[‘As Is’ cast and ACT UP activists at the recent ‘ACT UP FOR LOVE’ rally in Trafalgar Square]

Further Information 

Silvia Petretti is a woman living with HIV and an advocate for the human rights of people living with HIV. She was diagnosed in 1997 has been openly living with HIV since 2005, believing it is a powerful way to challenge the stigma and prejudice around HIV.  In her professional life, Silvia is Deputy Chief Executive Officer for Positively UK, a leading provider of peer support to people living with HIV, as well as current chair of the UK Community Advisory Board, the network for community HIV treatment advocates.

Recent Articles ‘How bright is the future for those living with HIV in the UK?’ 

‘We Asked Foreign Born British HIV Patients About Nigel Farage’s ‘Health Tourist’ Comments’ 

Blog: http://hivpolicyspeakup.wordpress.com/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/HIV_SpeakingUp

Natalie Burt makes a HIV patient who is a pregnant a poignant reality through a spectacular and gripping performance in ‘As Is’. Natalie Burt is an actress, known for United (2011), Doctors (2000) and Coming Up(2003). Natalie is also author of ‘Acting: Cut the Crap, Cue the Truth’ fills a gap in the drama school curriculum, tackling many areas which are unaddressed during training and discussing issues that are more often than not hushed up afterwards. [http://www.amazon.co.uk/Acting-Cut-Crap-Cue-Truth/dp/1849434794]

‘Natalie’s book is like her acting: playful, irreverent, and accomplished. An invaluable resource.’ Laurie Sansom, Artistic Director, National Theatre of Scotland ‘

Further Details on ‘As Is’ show –

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“A uniformly excellent cast is both chorus and community, reminding us that every HIV diagnosis comes with a name, a face and a family. And Steven Webb is just astonishingly good as Rich, selling his pain and anger without martyring him. Hoffman isn’t interested in saints. Here bravery is as much about the struggle with yourself. And that’s what endures.” The Stage, July 2015.

Wednesday 1st July – Saturday 1st August 2015 Monday to Saturday, 7.45pm

Thursday and Saturday matinees, 3pm

Theatre and Box Office

Studio 2, Trafalgar Studios, 14 Whitehall, London SW1A 2DY

Tickets are available priced £17.50, £22.50 and £27.50 from Trafalgar Studios Box Office and http://www.atgtickets.com/trafalgarstudios, 0844 871 7632.

– All post show events are free and all are welcome to attend.

– All events will start at approximately 9.15pm and last for approximately 30 – 40 minutes.

– Free, confidential, rapid HIV testing will be offered by professionals of 56 Dean St after every Friday evening performance at Trafalgar Studios

Studio 2 has also become a temporary memorial as audience members are encouraged to cover the walls with messages, names and memories of all those lost to AIDS. Due to the fact that the UK still does not yet have an AIDS memorial, audiences are encouraged to graffiti the Trafalgar 2 auditorium walls with messages, names and memories of all those we have lost to AIDS. Please note that special pens have been provided in the auditorium to do this.

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