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Moment of Grace, written by Bren Gosling and produced by Backstory Ensemble in association with The Actors Centre and the National HIV Story Trust, will debut online at The Actors Centre from 7.30pm on Friday 31 July. The production will stream on the organisation’s website until 9 August.

Created as a three-character play, Moment of Grace looks at the famous visit of Diana, Princess of Wales to London’s first AIDS Unit in 1987, where she shook a patient’s hand without wearing gloves and in doing so triggered a momentous shift in public and media perceptions of people living with HIV & AIDS.

Moment of Grace explores the impact of this landmark day on three people: Andrew, a patient; Jude, a nurse on the ward; and Donnie, a fireman estranged from his son. The production also takes inspiration from the oral history testimonies that have been collected by the National HIV Story Trust’s archives, and other original interview material, ensuring real experiences are respectfully represented on-screen.

Lucy Walker-Evans as Jude, recording from home.

Originally the play was slated to run at The Actors Centre’s flagship venue, Tristan Bates Theatre, but during the Covid-19 lockdown, Moment of Grace was reimagined for the screen. Adhering to social distancing guidelines with actors self-shooting at home, the result is a powerful film-theatre hybrid.

Speaking about streaming Moment of Grace, Writer and Executive Producer, Bren Gosling said: “This story is key part of our recent queer and collective history, which is in danger of being forgotten. In the midst of our current, challenging pandemic times, Moment of Grace reminds us of how acts of kindness can effect a sea change in attitudes towards the marginalised, stigmatised and oppressed; it gives us hope.”

Theatre Programme Manager at The Actors Centre, Mitchell Reeve added: “We are proud to partner with Backstory Ensemble and the National HIV Story Trust to present this heart-wrenching, necessary and urgent story. Merging the immediacy of theatre with the possibility of film, Moment of Grace is a truly unique piece of work that we know will resonate deeply and powerfully with audience members.

The National HIV Story Trust said: “The National HIV Story Trust is recording and preserving stories told by people who have been touched by HIV/AIDS since the1980s. We seek also to re-imagine those experiences through the arts and are proud to associate with this dynamic production of Bren Gosling’s new play Moment of Grace.”  

Moment of Grace will stream here on The Actors Centre website from 7.30pm on 31 July – 11.59pm on 9 August.

Watch the trailer here:

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Fifi Goldberg

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