I am a freelance writer specialising mainly in health and education and living in Staffordshire. Find me on Linked In
One-man show based on personal experience of living with HIV
Living with HIV is the topic of a hard-hitting autobiographical one-man show that is coming to Staffordshire as part of a national UK tour. Fresh from its critically acclaimed Edinburgh Fringe run in 2019, the award-winning theatre-maker and HIV activist Nathaniel Hall will be bringing his thought-provoking solo creation First Time to the Lichfield Garrick theatre on February 7. The show, originally commissioned by Waterside Arts and Creative Industries Trafford, and produced by Dibby Theatre, asks the question: 'Do you remember your first time?' The devastating answer in Nathaniel's case is that he does because he can't seem to forget it, having contracted the HIV virus as a result. First Time, which is recommended for those aged 14 and above, explores the ups and downs of living with HIV through a series of personal letters, confessions, poems and a drag alter-ego called Sue.
Nathaniel Hall stars in his solo autobiographical story. Credit Andrew Perry
First Time has been described as both a hilarious and heartbreaking autobiographical story about growing up gay and living with HIV. Nathaniel was diagnosed with the virus just two weeks before his 17th birthday, which was only a few months after he came out as gay to his family. Nathaniel is now advocating for better contemporary representations of HIV in popular culture, using First Time as a vehicle for his activism and empowering other people to live openly with their HIV status. Later this year, he will appear in Russell T Davies' brand new Channel 4 drama, Boys, about AIDS in 1980s Britain. On creating First Time, Nathaniel says: "I lived in secret, fear and self-loathing for 14 years but denying my HIV status only helped to feed the narrative that living with it is something to be shameful of. First Time marks a very public coming out as HIV through which I hope to inspire other people living with the virus to live more openly and break the cycle of stigma and shame."
First Time explores living with HIV. Credit Andrew Perry
With key public health messages about HIV being promoted through the show and associated talks and workshop activities, the team involved in First Time use theatre as a vehicle to educate, de-stigmatise and empower, in turn contributing to the UNAIDS aim of ending all new HIV transmission by 2030. The production is supported by Arts Council England and Waterside Arts, as well as kind donations from crowd-funding and original seed-funding from Superbia, the arts and culture fund from Manchester Pride.
Nathaniel Hall inspects the show's poster at Edinburgh
First Time can be seen at the Lichfield Garrick on February 7. Tickets priced £15 can be obtained by visiting www.lichfieldgarrick.com or by calling the box office on 01543 412121.