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BWW Exclusive: STATUS in Melbourne

For six days, starting on July 20, Melbourne will play host to the 20th International AIDS Conference. The program boasts a range of speakers who will address a variety of issues associated with HIV / AIDS in the twenty first century. Former Australian High Court Justice Michael Kirby, the 42nd President of the United States Bill Clinton, Richard Branson, and Sir Bob Geldof are four of the many high level speakers who will be part of the conference proceedings.

While the conference proceedings may be the focus of the daylight hours, during the evening the city of Melbourne will play host to an array of cultural activities that will see several city landmarks floodlit red and numerous themed artistic endeavours on show, aiming to promote a wider awareness of HIV/AIDS within the community.

The literary and theatrical world is no stranger to the topic of HIV / AIDS, with several works already well known for their coverage of the topic. Such works include the well-known biographical novel Holding the Man. Written by Tim Conigrave, it was converted to a successful stage play by Tommy Murphy and has enjoyed repeated runs in Australia as well as on London's West End and in the United States. Then there is John Foster's beautifully written Take me to Paris, Johnny, which was published in 1993. These works created a wider awareness of the issue of HIV/AIDS and served to highlight its impact on those who are positive as well as their friends, family and others in the community.

Continuing with this theme of broadening social awareness about those who are HIV positive is Status - the play, which will run at the Arts Centre Melbourne's Fairfax Studio between 23 and 27 July. Status is being presented as an affiliated independent event of the 20th International AIDS Conference.

Status seeks to explore the stigma and discrimination that often accompanies HIV and aims to break this down and promote a wider awareness of the HIV. Its narrative is drawn from a over thirty hours of interviews which extracted a range of real life stories from forty five people worldwide, thus reflecting the actual experiences of those who are positive. In adopting this perspective the play tackles the daily challenges that are faced from the stigma that is attached to being positive. Due to its source material Status promises to be real, confronting, and challenging.

Status' goal is to promote audience reflection and in the process foster a renewed compassion for and understanding of those who are impacted by HIV. Stephen and Michelle Barber (Executive Producers) are clear about the intent of their production, stating that, ""Our aim is for this production to improve awareness of HIV and challenge the stigma that we know exists towards people living with HIV...AIDS 2014 was the perfect opportunity to bring these stories to a truly international audience, and we hope STATUS will touch the minds and hearts of everyone who sees the show."

Status is directed by award-winning director Cameron Menzies and includes performances from Kath Gordon, Will Conyers, Brigid Gallacher, and Matt Hickey.

WHEN: 23 - 27 July, 2014 ?Wed - Sat 9pm, Sat and Sun 3pm, Wed 2pm?
WHERE: Arts Centre Melbourne - Fairfax Studio
COST: Tickets: $40 Full, $37 Concession (FT Students, Pensioners, Seniors)
BOOKING: 1300 182 183 and

IMAGE CREDIT: Provided by PR Agent, Sassy Red PR

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