Clean: a work in progress showing


“ I admire the virus, you know. It’s part of me – my companion – so I can’t hate it. Otherwise I’d have to hate myself. I’m not sure if I’d know myself without it.”

‘Clean’ follows two long-term Canberra HIV survivors from 1985 to today. Terry is just 16 when he meets Leslie, a 40-year-old professional drag queen. Their HIV diagnoses take them on a journey of self-exploration and discovery as they encounter a diverse group of fellow travellers and experience love, death and the true meaning of family.

From Silence=Death to U=U, 'Clean' is a memorial to those we lost to the virus, a tribute to those who fought against the virus and a celebration of how far we've come in controlling the virus.

Clean is written by  David Atfield, award-winning ACT playwright of  Scandalous Boy and Exclusion,  who throughout his thirty- year career has been committed to creating high quality theatre, often with a focus on LGBTIQ themes. David  was commissioned to create a work, drawing upon the lived experience of Canberrans to explore changing attitudes to HIV, stigma and sexual/psychosocial behaviour. It is an important work to create now, in the age of PrEP and U=U, as people’s attitudes toward the virus undergo a radical shift, a shift that has changed many people’s behaviours.  As we stride toward a future with the potential of zero new HIV transmissions, it is important for us to realise where we’ve come from, to remember those who did not survive, and to celebrate and recognise those who have.

This is an opportunity to participate in the play development process through responding to the work. After the reading/showing  we open up the floor for a conversation with playwright, director, dramaturg and the actors. By sharing your thoughts with the creative team your will  assist us progress the work to production readiness.  


Cast: Chris Baldock, Joel Horwood, Dylan Van Den Berg

Dramaturg:   Jonathan Gavin

Director: Sophie Benassi


Where: The Street Theatre, 15 Childers St, Canberra City West ACT 2601

Duration: 2 hours


The project is funded by the ACT Government’s Capital of Equality Grants Program and managed by The Street Theatre in collaboration with the AIDS Action Council.

The ACT Government’s Capital of Equality Grants Program was announced in the 2018 ACT Budget as part of a package of measures to support LGBTIQ communities and individuals in Canberra. Funded projects will support community-based agencies with innovative approaches to inclusion, promote visibility of Canberra’s LGBTIQ communities and support local LGBTIQ artists, performers and sportspeople.

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