Image Caption: University of Richmond students taking the class "Documentary Theater: The AIDS Epidemic in Richmond" collaborate with members of the HIV/AIDS Prevention and Awareness Ministry at St. Paul's Baptist Church. Image courtesy of Michael Simon Photography.

UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND — University of Richmond students have spent the semester creating and rehearsing a documentary-style drama that aims to raise awareness of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Richmond and its disproportionate impact on the city’s African American community.

Their culminating performance of “Voices From Richmond’s Hidden Epidemic” will take place at noon on Sun., Nov. 24, at the Robert B. Moss Theatre at Richmond Triangle Players in Scott's Addition.

Students in the documentary theater class, led by professors Laura Browder and Patricia Herrera, will perform with members of the HIV/AIDS Prevention and Awareness Ministry at St. Paul’s Baptist Church. The docudrama is based on the oral histories of people living with HIV/AIDS, healthcare providers, activists, and allies in Richmond.

“Most people assume that HIV/AIDS is a disease that mainly affects gay, white men; that it is a thing of the past; and that it is easy to treat,” said American Studies professor Laura Browder. “Yet Richmond has one of the highest rates of the disease in the country and in 2015 it was reported that 70 percent of those living with HIV in Richmond were black.”

Browder, along with theatre professor Patricia Herrera, conducted more than 30 oral history interviews with community members impacted by HIV/AIDs. These interviews serve as the basis to the performance, as well an upcoming correlating exhibition at The Valentine Museum, which will open Jan. 23, 2020.

“It is our intention to build on the existing narrative and use art to offer a more representative and nuanced look at the HIV/AIDS crisis in our city,” said Herrera.


Media wishing to cover the performance should RSVP to Lindsey Campbell, media relations specialist at no later than noon Fri., Nov. 22.

Related Campus Units

School of Arts and Sciences

Tyler and Alice Haynes Professor of American Studies
Program Coordinator, American Studies
Women in combat
American autobiography
Women and guns
American Communist Party (Earl Browder)
Civil rights in Richmond
Associate Professor of Theatre
Theatre as Social Change
20th and 21st Century American Theatre and Performance
Latina/o Cultural Productions
Solo Performance
Documentary Theatre
Gender and Performance
Hip Hop Performances