What does the AIDS crisis mean to those born after 1981? Catch the ambitious dance theatre work HEX – a compelling reflection on AIDS, activism, sex, and disco at Sydney’s PACT and Canberra’s Street Theatre to find out.
Told via popular club dance vocabularies, HEX transfixes with its dizzying mix of stunning performances and bittersweet moments, seen through the eyes and bodies of a generation away. Simultaneously retrospective and contemporary, HEX depicts the arc of the AIDS crisis from 1981 – 1996.
Joined onstage by James Andrews and Chafia Brooks, Award-winning choreographer, James Welsby has created a show which reflects on how growing up in the wake of the AIDS epidemic has shaped the queer community in the 21st Century.
“I don’t think my generation will ever understand the full impact of the AIDS crisis on the gay community, but it’s important that we try,” says James Welsby.
After learning that a number of his friends had become HIV positive, Welsby began to ponder on the rise of apathy towards HIV/AIDS amongst his peers. In answer to that, he set out to create an inter-generational conversation about AIDS history.
Welsby was subsequently consumed by two years of research, reading countless biographies, and seeking out meetings with artists and activists who were in their youth during the height of the AIDS crisis.
From that came HEX which describes a space between suffering and celebration. The show is both a reflection on the nightmare of an epidemic that brutally damaged the gay community, and a joyful celebration of what it means to be free.
HEX was originally commissioned and developed through Next Wave’s Kickstart program for presentation in Next Wave Festival 2014 and also in The Australian Cultural Program – AIDS 2014.
“HEX is a powerful work that looks at the AIDS crisis from a generation away, and explores its legacy and impact.” – The Guardian.
Choreographer: James Welsby Performers: James Andrews, Chafia Brooks, James Welsby Sound design: Claudio Tocco Set & lighting design: Rose Connors Dance Costume design: Bryn Meredith Research assistant: Dion Kagan
HEX PACT, 107 Railway Parade, Erskineville Season continues to 28 February 2015 Bookings: www.pact.net.au
The Street Theatre, 15 Childers Street, Canberra City West Performance: Sunday 1st March 2015 – 7.00pm Bookings: (02) 6247 1223 or online at: www.thestreet.org.au
For more information, visit: www.jameswelsby.com for details.
Image: James Welsby in HEX – photo by Gregory Lorenzutti