In the 35th anniversary year of Princess Diana’s famous handshake with an AIDS patient, Bren Gosling’s award-winning play Moment of Grace returns to tell the story of the ground-breaking moment that sent shockwaves around the world. Following a critically acclaimed showcase at Bloomsbury Festival, this arresting one-act play will now be staged at the intimate Hope Theatre for a three week run.
Based on personal testimonies, Moment of Grace tells of the famous visit by Diana, Princess of Wales, to Britain’s first AIDS Unit in 1987 and its impact on three people – Andrew, a patient, Jude, a nurse, and Donnie, a fireman estranged from his son.
In a world where even being seen to work on this ward could cost you everything, this act paved the way for a major shift in the public perception of people living with HIV and AIDS. Worldwide interest, news crews and a televised interview followed. To change public misconceptions, would you have risked it? Addressing an untold but incredibly important part of recent LGBTQ+ and collective history, Moment of Grace will make you laugh, cry, get angry, and open your heart.
The play won the NO: INTERMISSION International One Act Play Competition in 2020. A filmed version was streamed from The Actors Centre, and this was awarded an ONCOM Commendation by The Offies.
Writer Bren Gosling comments, I am thrilled that my play Moment of Grace will at last get a proper staged run on the 35th anniversary of the event that inspired it. This piece of theatre brings home the importance of compassion and human touch when all else falls away, something which resonates particularly today in our emergence from the current pandemic. AIDS was once taboo, LGBTQ+ people had few civil or legal rights and were often publicly vilified and ridiculed by the press and media alike. In the face of terrible times, society needs both celebrity and private heroes who are willing to make a stand for what is right and to speak out against prejudice and hate. Diana Princess of Wales did this, as did countless others, unsung and long forgotten. Moment of Grace brings attention to some of their stories. We have come a long way… This play reminds us of just how far we’ve come, and the debt we owe to those who have gone before us.
Moment of Grace is created by Backstory Ensemble Productions in association with The National HIV Story Trust, who will jointly host a 45-minute panel Q&A after the matinée performance on Saturday 9th July.
Moment of Grace is at Hope Theatre Tuesday 28th June – Saturday 16th July.