Dancing Diseases : an applied theatre response to the challenge of conveying emotionally contradictory messages in HIV education
Baldwin, Andrea (2010) Dancing Diseases : an applied theatre response to the challenge of conveying emotionally contradictory messages in HIV education. Applied Theatre Researcher, 11, pp. 1-14.
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Health educators face an unusual challenge in relation to HIV: the need to convey two emotionally contradictory messages. On the one hand, there is currently no cure for HIV, which eventually leads to death (emotionally negative message). On the other hand, people with HIV can live long, healthy and productive lives (emotionally positive message). In developing countries where HIV prevalence is high, it is imperative that both messages are conveyed effectively. This article reports on a specific form, Dancing Diseases, implemented as one component of the Life Drama pilot study on Karkar Island, Papua New Guinea. Life Drama is an applied theatre and performance approach to HIV education. The article discusses Dancing Diseases as an example of applied theatre and performance practice, reflects on the participant group’s engagement with the form, and offers some ways in which the form could be refined and used in other health education contexts.
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