Devize Co
An innovative practice fusing method acting and dance.



Workshop Thursday 7 December 2017
Performance Friday 8 December 2017
WestSide Performing Arts Centre - Shepparton, Victoria

STIGMA is a new production from Darren Vizer that incorporates theatre, dance and physical encounters. This boundary-pushing performance explores the lives, relationships and sexual encounters of those who live with HIV, and how they navigate the stigma associated with it.

 STIGMA draws inspiration from Darren’s own experiences as well as a diverse range of stories from people in the wider community who live with HIV. Darren wanted to create a work with a strong message that would resonate with any audience member. ‘I created this work because I have lived with HIV and have been stigmatised because of it,’ he says, ‘Im sick of it; it’s exhausting. I want to help people understand what it’s like to live with this virus, and to humanise the people who have it. People relate because stigma is stigma, and nearly everyone has experienced it in some form. Whether that be bullying because of their appearance, gender or religion.’

STIGMA aims to change the narrative that HIV is just a ‘gay virus,’ and includes stories of heterosexual women and men. ‘The female voice is really strong in this play,’ Darren explains, ‘No-one really hears about what a woman goes through, like if she’s menstruating and sees blood and associates it with HIV.’ He believes this is particularly important now, as women have surpassed men in numbers for those who live with HIV. ‘I’ve had mothers come up to me after the show and say they want to talk to their kids about this when they get home. People have learnt a lot.’

After its success at the 2017 Midsumma and Melbourne Fringe festivals, Darren was approached by the University of Melbourne’s Centre for Excellence in Rural Sexual Health (CERSH), with the idea of touring the show regionally. Darren saw this as an important opportunity, considering regional Victoria’s low sexual testing numbers. In early December, STIGMA will be performed in Shepparton at its WestSide Performing Arts Centre. This 400 seat venue will present new challenges for Darren and his cast, ‘It’s a very intimate work, so it will be interesting to try and rework that for such a large space. Also, we really don’t know how people will react to the nudity and homosexual sex scenes, but I am very excited to reach a wider community.’

The STIGMA performance will be followed by a Q&A session with the Devize team and members of the HIV community as well as clinical and scientific experts from Shepparton and across Victoria. A creative community workshop will also run a day before the performance.  Incorporating movement, dance and dialogue, the workshop will open up a discourse on stigma. ‘We address what stigma is through talk and touch. Can you touch someone with an STI? Can you talk to someone who lives with something you don’t?’ Welcome to all ages, attendees will be encouraged to share their own stories of bullying, judgement and stigma. 

Coarse language
Sex scenes

Tickets from $25!/calendar/event/s-t-i-g-m-a

Riverlinks WestSide
141-179 Echuca Road, Mooroopna


Writer, Director/Choreographer: Darren Vizer
Performers: Nicholas Kato, Dan Last & Laura Jane Turner
Creative Consultant: Christabel Millar
Sound & Music Composer: Nedd Jones & Zac Kazepis
Original Lighting Design: Bronwyn Pringle
Lighting Realization & Stage Manager: Jason Crick

Press Kit available here>>

Catheryn York