Abstract The purpose of this article is to examine how drama, in the Boal tradition, was used for communication about HIV at a school in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Working with the assumption that youth participation and agency are key to halting the rising infection rates in young people, I show that drama that is participant-centred provides an opportunity for participants to express their own feelings and opinions, in a way that is not possible in traditional theatre. By drawing on the youths’ participation in drama, I elaborate on some of the critical incidents that emerged and conclude with some implications for practice. I argue that drama, in the Boal tradition, has the unique ability to help participants externalise their views on sexuality and HIV, to step back from the disease and so gain perspective on it. While this has obvious benefits for the participants themselves, the process is not without its own constraints and complexities.

By Critical Arts

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