Community Theatre Project exploring HIV disclosure, stigma, and empowerment at The Abbey Theatre

The Abbey Theatre’s Community and Education Department are inviting people living with HIV to participate in a number of talking sessions and drama workshops around the themes of stigma, disclosure, and empowerment.

The results of this research and conversation will later be shaped into a live performance and then performed in The Abbey Theatre, the National Theatre of Ireland.

This free community project is being facilitated by theatre artist Shaun Dunne and activist Robbie Lawlor. Their shared aim is to make a piece of daring, community led documentary theatre that offers insight into the experiences of people living with HIV in Ireland today. Shaun and Robbie believe collaborations like this can be useful in the quest to disable stigma and increase awareness- while also offering participants a creative outlet to further empower themselves.

Who can become involved?

The process is open to all people living with HIV in Ireland today. We would love to meet with people who are interested in sharing their story and supporting our wider research around the subject. People who are interested in the arts and enjoy working with others are especially welcome.

What is the time commitment?

Participation in the project is flexible and can be facilitated as part of a one on one process or within a group setting. However, the group work will take place over 5 two-hour sessions from February, 2017. The engagements will span over 5 months but your participation can be customised around your own availability and needs. For example, you may be interested in taking part in the group meetings/ drama workshops but have zero desire in performing during the piece. This is not a problem and the company will work around your individual circumstance to make sure you are comfortable and supported to take part in whatever way suits you.

Can I take part anonymously?

Yes. If you wish to speak to Shaun or Robbie directly and contribute anonymously to this theatre piece, we will organise this for you over email. We understand that not everybody feels comfortable in sharing their experience face to face

Do I have to share my own experience to take part?

No. Although we will talk a lot about empowerment, disclosure, and stigma relating to HIV, you are not obliged to talk about anything you don’t want to. Anything you do discuss will be held in the strictest of confidence and with respect to your wants and needs.

How do I sign up or find out more?

To ask some questions or get involved please email Shaun at


About the facilitators

Shaun Dunne is a playwright and artist who works specifically with documentary materials. This means that real people often inform his work and play an active role in its research. So far, Shaun has made theatre about unemployed tradesmen in their fifties, generation emigration, and Intellectual Disability Service Provision in Ireland. Shaun works primarily with a company called Talking Shop Ensemble and they collaborate to make work about the here and now.

Robbie Lawlor is a HIV positive man and activist. He discusses the realities of living with HIV as part of his on-going activism and support of his community. He is a founding member of Meet Up Plus Friends and has appeared most recently on RTE’s Pixie’s Sex Clinic. Shaun and Robbie are actively researching a separate documentary theatre project about living with HIV called Rapids. This project will be presented later in 2017 with Talking Shop Ensemble. This community event will hopefully form a vital part of its research and development.

Author: Admin

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