Entertainment

First Time play about contracting HIV to get London premiere

Nathaniel HallImage copyright Andrew PERRY
Image caption Nathaniel Hall candidly shared his experience growing up HIV positive

A play about one man’s experience contracting HIV the first time he had sex is to premiere in London.

Nathaniel Hall, now 33, said he got HIV when he was just 16 and had kept his diagnosis secret from his family until two years ago when he started writing his one-man play First Time.

The show was first performed in Sale, Greater Manchester, before he took it to the Edinburgh Fringe.

He said people have told him it inspired them to change their outlook.

“Lots of people have been saying it’s inspired them to live openly and, surprisingly, it’s not just people with HIV,” he said.

“I had one message from someone stuck in a domestic violence relationship and they were trying to work up the courage to leave.

“My story had given them another push and it showed what I’m talking about is universal, and shame is something that we all feel.”

Image copyright Nathaniel Hall
Image caption Nathaniel Hall said the play was a way of breaking the news to his family and “like family therapy”

Mr Hall began writing to “make sense of things” and found the play a way to break the news to his family.

“In a sense, it was like family therapy. They understand me now,” he said.

“My mum and dad came to see the show in Edinburgh. My mum was in the front row and sobbed through most of it.

“They’re very supportive and I always knew they would be. Some people would wonder why didn’t I tell them. But that’s the power of the stigma,” he said.

He said the show has become a tool in his activism to end the stigma surrounding HIV.

“My ultimate aim is a HIV free world,” he said.

“If First Time is a small piece in that puzzle then I’d be really happy.”

First Time will premiere in London at the The Vaults on 28 January.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-50606315

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