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Creating a space for the individual: Different theatre and performance-based approaches to sexual health communication in South Africa

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Abstract:

Sexually transmitted infections such as HIV are illnesses that affect both a person's physical health as well as their mental and social wellbeing. Yet, the global development of public health responses have, for the most part, remained focused on the physical wellbeing of people with little attention paid to the individual's emotional wellbeing. With the highest number of HIV positive people worldwide, South Africa requires a new and positive approach to the pandemic (Ross 2008). This article aims to bring attention to practice, in this instance, theatre and performance-based work, which considers the people and communities affected and afflicted by HIV, and other sexual health concerns, as individuals with individual thoughts and emotions, for greater inclusion in a more positive approach to tackling AIDS. This article will consider three examples of such practice, namely the Themba HIV/AIDS Organisation, the Etafeni Centre and our place, our stage (OPOS) project.

Keywords: HIV/AIDS; South Africa; applied theatre; sexual health; theatre and performance

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1386/jaah.1.1.111/1

Affiliations: Centre of Applied Theatre Research, University of Manchester.

Publication date: 2010-01-01

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  • The Journal of Applied Arts and Health serves a wide community of artists, researchers, practitioners and policy-makers evidencing the effectiveness of the interdisciplinary use of arts in health and arts for health. It provides a forum for the publication and debate within an interdisciplinary field of arts in healthcare and health promotion. The journal defines 'health' broadly which includes physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, occupational, social and community health.
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