Festival Programme

Download your AIDS Festival calendar here (pdf) – or scroll down for full details.

Convened by the Raphael Samuel History Centre, with *Bridges events curated by Ash Kotak at Aesthesia.

Sunday 1st JulyLGBT poetry logo

Bridges: Poetry LGBT Open mic
LP @ The Curtain Club, 45 Curtain Road, EC2A 3PT
Free, no booking required. Sign up at poetryloungelgbt@hotmail.com, and click here for more info on Facebook.
HIV infection levels are increasing for people of colour in the UK and around the world, with non white women between 15-24 years old accounting for 58% of new infections worldwide. HIV/AIDS also stirs so many emotions that we all feel as humans beings: fear, joy, love, pain, rejection, unity, loneliness, togetherness, sadness, happiness, death and life – and so much more. Bring your poems, stories, and songs about any of these themes and let’s sing about life, living and coming together to end AIDS by 2030.
Thanks to Andreena Leeanne for hosting this night.

Monday 2nd July

RCN Late: Beat the BugsRCN-official-logo
Royal College of Nursing, 20 Cavendish Square, W1G 0RN
Free, with pay bar. Click here to book.
To launch the AIDS Histories and Cultures Festival, join us for an evening of games, activities and displays. Find out how quickly viruses can spread in a set of interactive activities, explore archive collections, play themed games and make your own AIDS quilt in memory of those who have lived and died with HIV/AIDS.

Tuesday 3rd July Sunday's child poster

Bridges: ‘Sunday’s Child’ rehearsed reading
The Glory, 281 Kingsland Road, E2 8AS
Tickets £5: click here to book
Sunday’s Child is a new play, exploring the origins, immediate and long-term impact of Clause (Section) 28 on the gay community, and thirty years later, upon the individual. Beginning in 1987, Government advisors discuss the challenges and merits of the legislation amendment. The play explores the initial fall-out as a London local authority seeks to close down Lesbian and Gay support groups at the height of the AIDS crisis. As local services collapse, so do the relationships within. Thirty years later we meet a gay male couple, who find themselves faced with a seemingly pro-gay conservative government and progressive social change that allows them to formalise their relationship in marriage, but is this what they both want? The play explores a growing gulf in the gay community between those who benefit from a centre-right political direction, and those who can neither forgive nor forget 1988 and Section 28, in the shadow of the AIDS crisis.
This is a scratch event as part of the play’s development, in the form of a rehearsed reading. Following the performance, we would very much like to hear your thoughts via an online questionnaire. 


Wednesday 4th July

Workshop: The AIDS crisis in the 1980s and beyond BI Logo 2015 - green on white
Bishopsgate Institute, 230 Bishopsgate, EC2M 4QH
Free, but reservations required. Click here to book.
This workshop explores the Bishopsgate Institute’s rich holdings on the AIDS crisis in the 1980s and beyond. We will investigate the response of the local and national newspaper press alongside material from gay groups mobilising in support of those affected. The workshop is led by Matt Cook, Professor of Modern History at Birkbeck, University of London.

London Talks: Gay men and AIDS in the 1980s
Bishopsgate Institute, 230 Bishopsgate, EC2M 4QH
£7, £5 concessions. Click here to book.
In this talk Professor Matt Cook explores the relationship between the capital, queer life and the AIDS crisis in the 1980s. Matt looks at ways in which perceptions and experiences of the city changed in this period – and most especially for gay men. 

Thursday 5th July hope springs

#AIDSMemoryUK and Pride in London present:
Miss Hope Springs: Blood, Sweat, and Sequins
Brasserie Zedel, 20 Sherwood Street, W1F 7ED
£25 plus booking fee: click here to book.
Down-on-her-luck ‘recovering showgirl’ Miss Hope Springs plays the piano and sings songs from her acclaimed all original repertoire and recounts scandalous stories from her disastrous ‘Ritz to the pits’ life. You’ll hear her unique brand of vintage Vegas style finger snapping pop, wistful waltzes and smouldering torch songs as she dishes the dirt on her past paramours, including Liberace, and spills the beans about cohabiting with her husband Irving (and his hairdresser pal Carlos) in that camper van in Dungeness. Still wearing the sequinned pantsuit she left the Pink Pelican Casino wearing in 1972, join Hope as she opens her battered ‘suitcase of dreams’ to share more magical musical mementos on another trip down a somewhat potholed memory lane…
Miss Hope Springs is the creation of composer/lyricist and entertainer Mr Ty Jeffries. To donate to #AIDSMemoryUK, visit their gofundme page here.

Friday 6th Julyclub kali logo

Bridges: Games & Party Night at Club Kali
Kolis, 1 Archway Rd, London N19 3TD
Tickets on the door. Before 23.30: £8/£6 concession or guest list; After 23.30: £10/£8 concessions. Valid photo ID required. LGBTQ+ and friends. Management reserve right of admission
Join us for a laugh, a challenge, have fun with hosted games and then strut your stuff to tunes from 80’s to now, in Club Kali‘s Bollywood to Hollywood style!

Saturday 7th July Fitzrovia chapel logo

Bridges: Fitzrovia Chapel Concert, & interview
Fitzrovia Chapel, 2 Pearson Square, W1T 3BF
Tickets £19.50 (£30 for a joint ticket for this and 8th July concert) – plus booking fee. Click here to book.
The debut of Joseph Sonnabend, now 85 years old, featuring music written at the height of the battle against AIDS in NYC when he was 65 years old. The evening will include two String Quartets, piano pieces and an interview with Joseph. Performers: members of Ixion Ensemble, Michael Finnissy and Neil Georgeson.
Including an interview with Dr Joseph Sonnabend & Sean Strub. Sean Strub is the founder of POZ magazine and the director of the Sero Project. He is the author of Body Counts, A Memoir of Politics,AIDS, Sex and Survival, and his short film, HIV is Not a Crime, introduced the problem of HIV criminalization to audiences worldwide. A longtime activist, he has been living with HIV for more than 35 years and been a leading advocate for the people living with HIV self-empowerment movement. He was the first openly HIV positive person to run for the U.S. Congress (1990) and produced the off-Broadway hit The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me (1992).
AIDSmemoryUK logo
The Fitzrovia Chapel Concerts are fundraisers for #AIDSMemoryUK which campaigns to establish a national tribute to HIV/ AIDS in the UK – backed by the London Assembly. To donate to #AIDSMemoryUK, visit their gofundme page here.

Sunday 8th July Fitzrovia chapel logo

Bridges: Fitzrovia Chapel Concert
Fitzrovia Chapel, 2 Pearson Square, W1T 3BF
Tickets £19.50 (£30 for a joint ticket for this and 7th July concert) – plus booking fee. Click here to book.
‘Cabaret’ by internationally acclaimed composer and pianist Michael Finnissy. Including works by  Aaron Copland, John Cage, Richard Rodney Bennett, Casandra Miller, Ethel Smyth, Matthew Lee Knowles, Francis Poulenc, Amoret Abis and Luke Stoneham. World premières of works by Morgan Hayes, Joseph Sonnabend and Andrew Toovey. Additional vocal music by Joseph Sonnabend, performed by Emma Tring (Soprano) and Jessica Gillingwater (Mezzo Soprano) and pianist Neil Georgeson.
The Fitzrovia Chapel Concerts are fundraisers for #AIDSMemoryUK which campaigns to establish a national tribute to HIV/ AIDS in the UK – backed by the London Assembly. To donate to #AIDSMemoryUK, visit their gofundme page here.

Monday 9th JulyICW logo large

Nothing For Us Without Us: I Am ICW 
Royal College of Nursing, 20 Cavendish Square, W1G 0RN
Free. Click here to book.
An HIV diagnosis in the 1980s often meant illness, isolation, stigma,  rejection and death. An assumption that HIV did not affect women meant that they were particularly isolated, with virtually no services available to meet their needs. In 1992 a group of women from different countries, cultures, RCN-official-logoand backgrounds founded ICW, the International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS. Hear from founders and members of ICW about their experiences, past and present, of healthcare, advocacy and activism.

Thursday 12th Julygay's the word bookshop logo

Bridges: Book readings
Gays the Word, 66 Marchmont Street, WC1N 1AB
£3 entry; free wine, bring your own crisps!
An evening of conversation and readings from published books and books to be published soon about personal experiences of HIV/AIDS. With Robin Gorna, Vernal Scott, Roland Chesters, and others.

All About My Mother: VITO film screening all about my mother poster
The Cinema Museum, 2 Dugard Way (off Renfrew Road), SE11 4TH
19.00 (cafe/bar open at 18.00)
Free: donations encouraged!
Click here for info
The VITO Project is delighted to present Pedro Almodovar’s drama All About My Mother (1999), starring Cecilia Roth, Marisa Paredes, Antonia San Juan, Penélope Cruz and Candela Peña. ‘All About My Mother’ tell the story of Manuela, an nurse who oversees donor organ transplants in a Madrid hospital, and is single mother to Esteban, a teenager who wants to be a writer. The film deals with complex issues such as AIDS, homosexuality, transsexualism, faith, and existentialism. Come early to secure a seat as it can get very busy.

Friday 13th July

Positive Faith: Christianity and HIV in the UK  CAPS logo
St Anne’s Soho, 56 Dean Street, W1D 6AF
Free entry with refreshments provided.
Click here to book.
Join us for an exploration of Christianity and HIV in the UK. Through guest speakers, panel discussion and video we will cover the church response during the AIDS crisis, now and in the future; spirituality and HIV; and community and cultural experiences of being a Christian with HIV. Chaired by Prof. Jim McManus, Director of Public Health, Hertfordshire County Council, curated by Victoria Morris and hosted by Catholics for AIDS Prevention and Support, producers of the resource Positive Faith and national peer support for Christians living with HIV.
We are grateful to the team at St Anne’s who have provided the venue and support for the event.

Saturday 14th July

Punched by a Homosexualist  punched
The Glory, 281 Kingsland Road, E2 8AS
Entry by donation: click here to book
An opportunity to see a film and a play about Russian LGBTQ activists and gay Russians: the one hour film ‘Punched by a Homosexualist’ (in Russian), directed by Olexiy Savenko and produced by Alla Dry Jack, followed by the short play ‘Gay Russians in the West’ by Ash Kotak.

Sunday 15th July AIDSmemoryUK logo

#AIDSMemoryUK Campaign Fundraiser
Admiral Duncan, 54 Old Compton St W1D 4UD
Sunday Singalong with Kara Van Park from 6pm followed by Chipz for Tea at 8pm. To donate to #AIDSMemoryUK, visit their gofundme page here.

Monday 16th July

AIDS Histories and Cultures in the Archive
London Metropolitan Archives, 40 Northampton Rd, EC1R 0HB
Free but booking essential. Click here to book.
Join us for an exploration of important archive material relating to London’s response to the AIDS pandemic. The afternoon will include document viewing and discussions on how history is recorded and viewed by future generations. 

Wednesday 18th July

STOPAIDS: HIV, Health and Development meeting stopaids logo
Houses of Parliament, SW1A 0PW
Free: book here
This meeting is an opportunity for civil society, HIV campaigners, and other supporters to come together in advance of the International AIDS Conference 2018 to discuss priorities and build momentum for the week ahead. The first half of the meeting will cover framing presentations and discussions on where we are at with regards to the HIV response, global health funding and how these issues fit within the broader international Development Paradigm. The second half will focus on the International AIDS Conference and UK government and priorities for the conference. We have invited Alistair Burt MP to attend, and he will speak to his priorities for the International AIDS Conference and DFID’s wider approach to the global HIV response.

Wednesday 18th July

Bridges: Commemoration, Celebration & Cabaret AIDSmemoryUK logo
The Phoenix Artists Club, 1 Phoenix St, WC2H 8BU
21.00 – Free entrance with a collection during the evening for the #AIDSMemoryUK Campaign
We invite you to join LGBTQ Poet Laureate Trudy Howson for a Fabulosa night, of poetry, prose, film, & the very best of West End Cabaret. This is a fun, fund raising event.

Trudy Howson pic

Thursday 19th July

AIDS histories and legacies: ‘Sunday’s Child’ reading and Q&A
Birkbeck, Malet Street, WC1E 7HX
Free. Click here to book.
Followed by drinks reception
‘Sunday’s Child’ is a new play marking 30 years since Clause (Section) 28, exploring its impact on HIV/AIDS services, stigma and awareness. This reading of two scenes from the play will be followed by a discussion and Q&A with director Darren Mawdsley; historians Dr Tommy Dickinson and Dr Manon Parry; Sara Furse, campaigner and activist; and Ash Kotak, Festival co-convenor and founder of the #AIDSMemoryUK campaign.
Supported by the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities


Friday 20th July

Bridges: ‘After Louie’ film screening and Q&A with director Vince Gagliostro and Hugo Greenhalgh
Screening Room @ The Curtain, 45 Curtain Road, EC2A 3PT
Doors 19.00, Screening 20.00.
Tickets £15, with all proceeds going to the #AIDSMemoryUK Campaign. Click here to bookAfter Louie film poster
Private screening of ‘After Louie’, including a Q&A and a drinks social in the exclusive Curtain Private Members Club. ‘After Louie’ follows Sam (Tony Award® winner Alan Cumming), an artist and activist from ACT UP who lived through the early years of HIV/AIDS — a man scarred and still struggling with survivor’s guilt. Cemented into an oppressive past, he is bewildered by a younger generation of carefree gay men with their uninhibited use of social media, sexting, and seeming political indifference. But when he meets the seductive young Braeden (Zachary Booth), an intergenerational relationship blossoms between them – one capable of reawakening Sam’s artistic soul and reviving his wilted heart. Screening followed by Q&A with Vince Gagliostro, director of ‘After Louie’, and Hugh Greenhalgh, LGBTQ editor of the Thomson Reuters Foundation. To donate to #AIDSMemoryUK, visit their gofundme page here.

Saturday 21st July V&A logo

AIDS posters from around the world
Print Room, Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, SW7 2RL
Free but booking required: click here to book.
Join Curator of Prints and chair of the LGBTQ Working Group of the V&A, Zorian Clayton, for a talk and Q&A, and to peruse a selection of one of the largest collections of HIV and AIDS awareness posters in the world. In 1996, the V&A curated a display entitled “Graphic Responses to AIDS” exploring the different ways designers have tackled the subject of HIV and AIDS awareness, from Uganda to Canada, Malaysia to Romania, and almost every country in between. Zorian will bring out around 60 examples from the stores to highlight the wide range of approaches taken in visual messaging from the mid 1980s to the present day, encompassing the diverse variety of informative, baffling, fantastic, fear mongering, proud, and sexy campaigns created by activists, governments, and graphic designers internationally. There will also be plenty of time for discussion and questions.

Sunday 22nd July

Bridges: Cruising Inside/Out
The Glory, 281 Kingsland Road, E2 8AS
Booking information coming soon…
INSIDE OUT CRUISING with Dr Richard Maguire: An English film director, stage designer, diarist, artist, gardener and author goes to Hampstead Heath.
OUTSIDE IN CRUSING with Jeffrey Hinton. Merging flirting, sex and politics – “IN” clubbing in the late 70s, 80s, and early 90s

Wednesday 25th July

Positive Voices: 30 years of living with HIVtht logo
Birkbeck Cinema, 43 Gordon Square, WC1H 0PD
Free. Click here to book.
During this talk two HIV positive speakers will share their experiences of living with the virus, followed by a Q&A and discussion. Jonathan Blake was part of Lesbian and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM) and one of the first people on record in the UK to be diagnosed with HIV. Rebecca Tallon-De Havilland was diagnosed with HIV in Ireland in 1986 and discusses how HIV has impacted her extraordinary life.

‘Positive Voices’ is a community project run by the Terrence Higgins Trust, where people living with HIV share their personal stories and engage the wider community with the aim of raising awareness of HIV and promoting good sexual health for everyone.

Thursday 26th July

AIDS education: audiences and emotions  wellcomecollection-logo
Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Rd, NW1 2BE
Free but booking required. Click here to book.
How effective were UK public health campaigns concerning AIDS? What emotional responses did safer sex and AIDS education materials illicit? Join Dr Hannah J. Elizabeth to look at how this material used emotion in an attempt to change the behaviour of different ages, genders and sexualities. See some surprising items from our archive and discover what they mean to you.

Alien Sex Club Live  wellcomecollection-logo
Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Rd, NW1 2BE
Free, no booking required – just drop in.
Explore the science and culture of HIV, taking John Walter’s installation “Alien Sex Club” as your starting point. Enjoy the hospitality of the Wellcome Collection as you mingle with artists and clinicians who work with HIV in different ways. Click here for more info.

Friday 27th July

HIVe: walking, talking HIV/AIDS Past Present & Future
Walk: Bishopsgate Institute, to The Glory
17.30-19.30 (followed by event at The Glory – see below)
Tickets £5: To book, click here for Eventbrite.
This is a HIV/AIDS history walk bringing together a timeline of HIV/AIDS histories and cultures in London and the UK with the personal experience of fellow participants. The tour is led by artist Conal McStravick and writer James IvoryTaylor, exploring significant sites in the Spitalfields and Shoreditch areas. HIV/AIDS histories will be activated by memories and first person testimonies from artists, archivists, activists and individuals. A follow-up pre-club event at The Glory places young LGBTQIA artists, activists and performers in dialogue with the works, ideas and activities of HIV/AIDS activist elders: Juliet Jacques, the Inflamed Collective and original artworks commissioned by Studio Voltaire, London and Visual AIDS, New York.
HIVe Memories invites contributions on social media throughout July. Join the conversation and help shape events via Facebook, Instagram, or email directly: hivememories@gmail.com

Bridges: Trouble at the Glory Glory Logo
The Glory, 281 Kingsland Road, E2 8AS
Join us for a celebration of the AIDS Histories & Cultures Festival, and a big anarchic, draggy, pop, dance party!

Tuesday 31st July RCN-official-logo

Nursing a Plague: History, Testimony and Memory
Royal College of Nursing, 20 Cavendish Square, W1G 0RN
Free. Click here to book.
“AIDS is not over and neither is AIDS in the past” (Sarah Schulman). That past resonates through our present – through relationships, sexual cultures and sexuality, through art and culture, and through experiences of stigma, fear and guilt. This event will draw powerfully on excerpts from oral histories of HIV/AIDS affected people, including nurses, curated by researchers Tommy Dickinson and George Severs.

Riot Act: a new verbatim theatre piece Riot Act poster
Kings Head Theatre, 115 Upper Street, N1 1QN
£16-£19. Click here to book
‘Riot Act’ is a powerful brand new verbatim theatre piece. Playwright and performer Alexis Gregory interviewed one of the only remaining Stonewall survivors, radical-drag icon Lavinia Co-Op, and prominent 1990’s London ACT UP AIDS activist Paul Burston, and in this solo theatre piece, ‘channels’ sex decades of queer history. Hard-hitting, provocative, tender, truthful, funny, political and personal, these are stories of queerness, activism, addiction, sex, drag, community, conflict, youth, ageing, fierce queens and a Hollywood diva. Directed by Rikki Beadle-Blair. Funded by Arts Council England. ‘Riot Act’ runs from July 31st-August 5th 2018, including matinee at 16.45 on Sunday.

Throughout July:

BFI Mediatheque: AIDS on Screen
Open Tuesday to Sunday, 10:30 – 21:00.BFI_FF_COL_LOGO_GLOW_LANDSCAPE_POS
Free, no booking required.
This special selection of film and TV from the BFI National Archive surveys responses to the AIDS crisis in Britain in documentary and current affairs, drama and artists’ film – plus the government’s infamous ‘Don’t Die of Ignorance’ campaign. This collection is available alongside ‘Beautiful Things’, a landmark resource of over 200 titles exploring LGBT lives on British screens across the past century.

Pandemic! 100 Years of Nursing InfectionPandemic title graphic
Royal College of Nursing exhibition, Mon–Fri 9am–7pm and Sat 9am–5pm
Free, no booking required.
Disease is powerful. It can devastate communities and countries, threaten global security and challenge modern medicine and health care. This exhibition explores how nurses have responded to deadly outbreaks, from the so-called Spanish Flu epidemic after the First World War to more recent contagions, like HIV/AIDS and Ebola. Today the risks for the spread of disease are increasing. We travel more frequently and further than we ever have before. War continues to fracture populations and compromise access to basic sanitation. And with each class of antibiotics we develop, bacteria evolve to resist and survive.

Positive in Prison: HIV Stories from a Dublin Jail
Positive in Prison image white textThe 1980s HIV/AIDS crisis may be recent history, but the experiences of those who lived through it are rapidly disappearing from the public mind. This audio docu-drama uses oral histories to reintroduce one specific collection of experiences, from the HIV/AIDS separation unit in Dublin’s largest prison. Click here to find out more and to listen to the drama.

HIVe Memories: walking and talking HIV/AIDS Pasts Presents & Futures
HIVe Memories invites contributions on social media throughout July; join the conversation and help shape events via facebook, instagram, twitter or email directly to: hivememories@gmail.com AIDSmemoryUK logo

To donate to #AIDSMemoryUK, visit their gofundme page here.

Bridges: the cultural program of the AIDS Histories and Cultures Festival curated by Ash Kotak of Aesthesia
C20th AIDS to C21st HIV – U=U: Undetectable=Untransmittable
Aesthesia logo

The Raphael Samuel History Centre: encouraging the widest possible participation in historical study and debate.