"Let us give publicity to HIV and not hide it.” Nelson Mandela

 In a suburb in Stockport, a husband and wife hide their medication from one another. A young woman in Lagos, Nigeria refuses to speak to her sister on the phone. A hospital nurse wears extra pairs of gloves around a patient, no explanation given. If HIV is no longer a death sentence, why are we so scared of it?

 I am because we are is a play based on the testimonies of people living with HIV in Manchester today. Written by playwright and poet Cheryl Martin (Manchester Evening News award winner, Polari Prize nominee) and directed by Alix Harris (Artistic Director, Beyond Face) it tells the human stories of daily life with the disease.

BHA for Equality and Contact have been funded by Public Health England to create a new play exploring the realities of HIV related stigma in Greater Manchester, where late diagnosis rates are high and Black African communities are disproportionately affected.


I Am Because We Are will tour across seven Greater Manchester boroughs, with venues including churches, community centres and drop-in centres for refugees and asylum seekers.

If you would be interested in hosting a performance in your venue for groups you work with, or in bringing a group to see the show, then please contact our Health and Science Producer [email protected]


Antonia Kemi Coker
Etta Fusi
Fejiro Emasiobi
Rick Bithell


A Contact and BHA for Equality production
Written by Cheryl Martin. Directed by Alix Harris
Presented by BHA for Equality and Contact
Supported by Public Health England