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World AIDS Day: Open Forum & Dibby Theatre

Wednesday 1st December marks World AIDS Day. A unifying day where we remember the 36 million people who’ve lost their lives to HIV, to stand in solidarity with the 38 million people who live with the virus, and remind the public and government that HIV is still very present.

A few years ago, we kickstarted the Open Forum radio series made in partnership with Gaydio and funded by Audio Content Fund. This was an hour-long round table discussion, that brought together a melting pot of artists, experts and those that just want a good old chinwag about that month’s Open Forum topic.

The second episode was aired on World AIDS day in 2019 and explored the topic of sex. As well as a lively discussion, award-winning HIV+ theatre-maker, writer and performer Nathaniel Hall graced us with a performance of a poem. Nathaniel shone a light on the complicated nature of sex and shared his story.

Listen to the full show below.

The poem performed during this episode inspired Nathaniel to write ‘First Time: A Show About Staying Positive In A Negative World’. The autobiographical story is a one man show that seemingly combines heartbreak and comedy to showcase what it is like to grow up positive in a negative world.

The show ‘First Time’, which has received raving reviews from The Guardian, Northern Soul and more, is produced by the award-winning LGBTQ+ theatre company Dibby Theatre. The company’s strive and passion for social change is not only demonstrated through their theatre, but also through their workshops, exhibitions, debates, short films and post-show parties.

Head to the North Wall Arts Centre’s Youtube channel and watch their most recent film project ‘HIV+ME’. The series of 3 beautifully shot short films showcases three Mancunians living with HIV and their extraordinary stories. Watch the trailer below.

For those living in Manchester, ‘First Time’ will be on the stage from 30th November till 4th December at CONTACT theatre. For further information on the play’s touring dates and locations, head to Dibby Theatre’s website.

Accompanying the 4th December performance is ACT UP + Get Down. This official post-show afterparty will be thrown to celebrate 36 yrs of HIV activism in Manchester. You can also catch Reform residents Supernature Disco and Mix-Stress providing the tunes and vibes for this celebratory night.

We would like to take this moment to state that this day can be both empowering and triggering for individuals. We encourage all to keep this in mind during discussions and when sharing assets and words on social media.

Let’s work together, continue this movement throughout the year and stand in solidarity. Head to the Wold AIDs Day’s website to learn more about the day, their campaigns and fundraising opportunities.

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