UR Students Tackle HIV/AIDS Epidemic in Documentary Drama

November 20, 2018

University of Richmond students will perform a documentary drama about the HIV/AIDS epidemic and its disproportionate effect on people of color in the city of Richmond.

“RVAIDS” is Dec. 1, 4 p.m., Richmond Triangle Players in Scotts Addition.

“Richmond has one of the highest rates of HIV/AIDS in the country,” said American studies professor Laura Browder. “Most people assume that HIV/AIDS is a disease that mainly affects gay, white men, that it is thing of the past, and that it is easy to treat. We feel that live drama can bring an audience together to begin new conversations.”

The performing students are enrolled in “Documentary Theater: The AIDS Epidemic in Richmond”, which is cotaught by Browder and theatre professor Patricia Hererra. To gather the information for their performance, students met with Richmond residents who have been affected by HIV and those in the city who work to prevent it.

“Creating a living work of theatre not only has the power to inform a new generation about Richmond’s high rates of HIV infection, but also provokes both students and their audience to think about the causes of and possible interventions of the epidemic,” said Hererra.

The performance will be directed by New York-based director José Joaquin Garcia. It will be followed by a panel discussion moderated by Rodney Lofton, deputy director of Diversity Richmond and longtime AIDS advocate and educator. Panelists include:

  • Zakia Mckensey, founder of Nationz Foundation
  • Lisa Cumbey, sister of artist J. Alan Cumbey who died of AIDS in 1992
  • Karen Legato, executive director of Health Brigade
  • India Henderson, UR student, Class of 2021

The performance is free and open to the public.

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