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Gloves Off - A Free HIV/AIDS Conversation Will Come to Her Majesty's Theatre.

On Tuesday 19th November 2019, Her Majesty's Theatre will host Gloves Off - an afternoon of discussion surrounding the past, present and future of HIV/AIDS and its impact on the performing arts industry, hosted in drag by Wallis Depres and including special guests Andrew Keates, Susan Cole-Haley and Matthew Todd.

As an industry that was disproportionately affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic of the 1980s, maybe it's time that we - as a collective - started to talk about how our friends, family and colleagues have been (and continue to be) touched by it. Gloves Off is an opportunity for us to remember that period of time, utilise our eloquence as performers to help end the stigma that still surrounds those affected by HIV and play our part in helping to end new infections.

Guest speakers include:
Andrew Keates: a multi-award winning Theatre Director who discovered he was HIV+ after directing a revival of the first AIDS play As Is by William M. Hoffman. He would go on to come-out of the viral closet on-stage in front of thousands at an industry event at the Dominion Theatre under the statue of the late, great Freddie Mercury. Andrew has appeared all over the UK and in the British media speaking about living with HIV today, and when not directing, is a prolific HIV+ activist, Artistic Director of Arion Productions and host of The Show People Podcast. In 2018 he was awarded the Young Achiever of the Year Award from the Vice Chancellor of the University of Surrey for his work in supporting BAME artists and raising awareness about HIV in the performing arts. His recent work as a director includes Dark Sublime, As Is and Dessa Rose (Trafalgar Studios) and Chinglish (Park Theatre).

Susan Cole-Haley: Susan is passionate about the rights of women living with HIV. She has been involved in HIV activism and advocacy for over 16 years. She has worked for a number of HIV organisations including NAT (National AIDS Trust), the UK Coalition of People Living with HIV (UKC) and was the UK representative for the EU scoping project on HIV prevention. She has written on a wide range of issues around HIV for different publications, including Baseline and Positive Nation, where she was a regular columnist and features writer. She currently works for NAM aidsmap, she serves on the steering group of Positively Women, Positively UK's Women's Project and writes about issues affecting women living with HIV.

Matthew Todd: Matthew Todd is a multi award winning writer and sometime performer, and former editor of the UK's best-selling gay magazine, Attitude, where he was responsible for Prince William's first gay press appearance. He regularly writes for and appears in the British media and has presented two films for BBC Newsnight. His first play, Blowing Whistles, has been produced in the UK, Australia and the US. His book, Straight Jacket, about LGBT mental health, was voted Best LGBT Book 2017 by Boyz readers and has been described as 'utterly brilliant' by Owen Jones in The Guardian, as 'life saving' and 'game changing' by readers and as 'an essential read for every gay person on the planet' by Sir Elton John. His second book Pride: The Story of the LGBTQ Equality movement was published in 2019. He is the winner of 3 Editor of the Year Awards from the British Society of Magazine Editors, a Stonewall Journalist of the Year award and was given the Freedom of the City of London for services to the LGBT community.

Gloves Off is a conversation about HIV in the arts - where we have been, where we are, and where we are going. Let's chat. The talk will begin at 2pm and last for approximately two hours with an interval. If you would like free tickets to this event, please click here or e-mail

This event is generously supported by Arion Productions and LW Theatres. A bucket collection will take place after the discussion raising funds for the Terrence Higgins Trust, Elton John AIDS Foundation, 56 Dean St and the National AIDS Map.

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