National Queer Theater is holding the final sharing of the fourth annual Write It Out! on Saturday, December 2, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at The Center in NYC, an in-person event held in honor of World AIDS Day.
Donja R. Love and National Queer Theater have announced the fourth annual Write It Out! program’s final sharing will take place on Saturday, December 2, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at The Center (208 W 13th Street New York, NY) in honor of World AIDS Day. The 10-week virtual playwriting workshop for people living with HIV and AIDS will culminate in the program’s first in-person final sharing of the cohort’s short plays will star professional actors and will be directed by Dane Figueroa Edidi.
Founded by award-winning playwright Donja R. Love in 2019, Write It Out! is a groundbreaking playwright’s program and prize for people living with HIV and AIDS. Write It Out! takes pride in being created by the community for the community. It is designed to cultivate a space for those living with HIV to grow their artistic voice while in the community. Over the course of the workshop, the chosen cohort develops the tools to center their narratives in theatrical work in hopes of expanding their imagination and healing.
“Write It Out! is nothing short of a transformative artistic and spiritual elixir,” says David Anzuelo, a writer in the 2023 Write It Out! cohort. Anzuelo continues, “Through Donja R. Love’s guidance and the WIO! program, I gained new writing skills, witnessed my fellow participants’ bravery, and felt welcomed into a community that, as an artist living with HIV, I had longed for. WIO! is good medicine.”
According to Love, understanding the isolation one can feel when living with HIV, Write It Out! provides community and artistic tools as it amplifies the visibility of people living with HIV in the theatre and beyond. The goal of the workshop is to use the power of imagination and healing to strengthen the voice of those living with HIV and AIDS and transform the theatre landscape into a more equitable and stigma-free space. Write It Out! is produced by National Queer Theater in partnership with The Each-Other Project and with support from Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and The Terrence McNally Foundation.
“There are many opportunities for people living with HIV to exist within the arts, but the reality is those options don’t always translate into a space where we can bring our full selves,” says Love. “Being created by the community, Write It Out! has worked to build multiple spaces for people living with HIV to run wild with their imagination void of fear as an artist and person living with HIV. It’s clear that Write It Out! is the balm that so many of us need.”
In addition to the performances of the cohort’s short plays, Love will announce the winner of the Write It Out! Prize, which is given bi-annually to a playwright living with HIV. The prize comes with a $5,000 award and a dramaturg to help the recipient develop a new play. In prioritizing the confidentiality of all applicants and participants. Individuals accepted into the program or chosen for the prize may withhold their identity from being published.
The inaugural recipient of the prize was Dominic Colón, a playwright living with HIV, for his play The War I Know. The 2021 Write It Out! prize was funded by Emmy and Tony Award-winning actor Billy Porter, known for his roles on the hit TV show Pose and the musical Kinky Boots, with additional support from LGBTQ nonprofit GLAAD.
HIV Stigma Exists. The decision to openly live with HIV still carries the risk of discrimination. Not all participants of WIO!, current and alum, are open about their status. WIO! honors participants’ journeys regarding their HIV status and disclosure. WIO! upholds confidentiality. We ask folks to do the same. We’re asking all attendees to refrain from sharing information about WIO! participants – current or alum – unless given clear, direct consent. Thank you for understanding how stigma shows up and honoring the boundaries that need to be created.
For more information about Write It Out! and to RSVP, visit www.letswriteitout.com.