menu
HIV

Playwell Productions and Positive East to curate powerful exhibition on diverse HIV experiences to accompany Live to Tell: (A Proposal For) the Madonna Jukebox Musical by Brian Mullin

Graham Robson March 17, 2023

PlayWell Productions and Brian Mullin have announced that alongside the return of Brian‚Äôs Live To Tell: (A Proposal For) The Madonna Jukebox Musical to London at Camden People‚Äôs Theatre from April 4-15, will be a new and powerful exhibition in the theatre’s¬†lobby, which is curated by Brian from workshops he is currently co-leading with HIV charity Positive East.

Live To Tell: (A Proposal For) The Madonna Jukebox Musical is a “highly personal, impassioned stance on living with HIV” (Everything Theatre) that follows the quest of Brian, a Madonna superfan living with HIV, as he pitches himself to Madonna to create a musical based on her songs, whilst also facing what it means in his own life to survive with HIV.

Tickets on sale HERE

Brian Mullin’s play brings a new perspective about HIV to the stage with the aim to empower people living with HIV to tell their stories in their own words. Terrence Higgins Trust’s 2022 World AIDS Day survey revealed that 74% of people living with HIV have experienced stigma or discrimination due to their condition, often coming in the workplace or from family and romantic partners. Meanwhile, a 2022 study in The Lancet HIV found that people living with HIV had higher incidence of depression, anxiety and severe mental illness compared to the general public. Live to Tell makes those struggles visible, via a highly original mash-up of camp humour, pop references and personal revelations.

Pic by Harry Elletson

Brian Mullin¬†said: “As someone living with HIV, I’ve been so pleased with the visceral impact that the show had during our first run. Some people come for the (plentiful!) Madonna in-jokes and camp humour. Others have been drawn to us because their lives and those of their loved ones have been touched by HIV. Whatever their connection to the material, audience members have told us that the show has offered a new perspective about HIV and has increased their empathy and appreciation for the strength needed to live with it.

‚ÄúPutting my story on the stage has required great vulnerability but I’ve drawn strength to do it every night when I think of the wider community, past and present, of people who’ve lived with this condition. So many of us experience similar challenges to stay on our medications, negotiate romantic relationships and overcome stigma and self-doubt.

“Whatever their connection to the material, audience members have told us that the show has offered a new perspective about HIV and has increased their empathy and appreciation for the strength needed to live with it.”

“Not everyone living with HIV shares the same relative privilege that I do, as a white gay man, to put their story on a stage like this. That’s why I’ve been honoured and humbled to lead creative workshops with Positive East that have empowered a range of men and women from many different backgrounds to tell their HIV stories in their own words. I can’t wait to share the powerful work that’s emerged from the workshop in an exhibition alongside this run of the show.”

Alongside the show, audiences can view Expressing Ourselves, an exhibition in Camden People’s Theatre’s lobby curated by Brian from workshops he is currently co-leading with HIV charity Positive East. It features powerful, personal writing from a diverse range of men and women sharing often unheard experiences of life with HIV in their own words.

The exhibition will be launched with a special event on Wednesday, April 5, featuring a post-show panel where Brian and participants will discuss their experiences and writing.

Pic by Harry Elletson

Jack Summerside, Head of Health & Wellbeing at Positive East, added: “Positive East is proud to partner with Brian Mullin in our Express Yourself programme. Interest in these workshops exceeded our expectations, attracting a diverse range of participants across different generations, genders, cultures, and ethnicities — reflecting the approach and values of Positive East. It’s clear that coming together creatively is hugely valued by our community, alongside our other health and wellbeing support services, groups and activities.

“We’re so pleased that the creativity of people living with HIV will have an ongoing life ‚Äď through Brian’s performances and the exhibit at the theatre and beyond. This offers our participants a highly visible platform to share their own HIV stories with the wider public. Keep looking at our website‚Äôs Whats On pages, and our social media for news of some more creative opportunities for people living with HIV coming soon.”

In Live To Tell: (A Proposal For) The Madonna Jukebox Musical Brian Mullin plays the self-inspired role of Brian with Dan de la Motte playing all other characters and Nadya Ginsburg (2 Broke Girls, RuPaul’s Drag Race) providing the voice of Madonna.

Alongside Mullin on the creative team are Deirdre McLaughlin as Director, Josh Anio Grigg as Digital & Sound Designer, Alex Thomas as Lighting Designer and Steph J Weller for PlayWell Productions as Producer.

Tickets on sale HERE

X