Deploying performance poetry in dispelling HIV and AIDS stigma: An applied theatre approach | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 7, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 2049-3010
  • E-ISSN: 2049-3029


The article is based on an applied theatre project facilitated by Cletus Moyo at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa from 2009 to 2010. We argue that performance poetry deployed within an applied theatre paradigm has the potential to unlock the silence around HIV and AIDS issues in a way that opens up these issues for discussion and makes them accessible for exploration, even in contexts where speaking about these issues is taboo. The project targeted young people belonging to the age group that is most heavily hit by the HIV and AIDS pandemic. Notably, the young generation is also more open to performance poetry as an artform, making it more appropriate in dealing with issues affecting them. Performance poetry is a language of emotions and an artform that emphasizes speaking out. These two qualities render performance poetry a powerful medium for addressing HIV and AIDS stigma, a phenomenon that is embedded in the culture of silence.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): AIDS; applied theatre; culture of silence; HIV; performance poetry; stigma
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