Dear History Lover,
In nine days, History At Play™, LLC debuts a world premiere event that could not be more timely.
In addition to commemorating the 25th anniversary year of the passing of the humanitarian and human rights advocate Princess Diana, the month of June aligns with a cause that the Princess Royal championed. Diana's courage in the face of media scrutiny and fear-mongering catalyzed the destigmatization of the AIDS crisis in the late eighties. Known, at that time, as the "Gay Plague," this cause was largely ignored by prominent politicians, celebrity spokespeople, and erudite royals. Even the
Queen, who has undoubtedly become more progressive as she celebrates her Platinum Jubilee, lamented:
"Why can't she [Diana] take on less gloomy things?"
Meanwhile, Diana proclaimed:
"Anywhere I see suffering, that is where I want to be... doing what I can."
The iconic image of Princess Diana shaking the hand of an AIDS patient on Thursday April 9, 1987 at the newly opened AIDS Ward in
Middlesex Hospital, London, England. Despite the fact that the patients were being greeted by a Princess, most refused to be photographed for fear of the social backlash. Only one man, with his back to the camera, permitted himself to be photographed touching the Princess... A decision which altered the treatment of, and the perception toward, HIV+/AIDS patients.
During an era when it was thought that casual touch could contract the disease, AIDS was a lightning rod that electrified ostracization. In April 1987, British medical statistics stated that there were 731 confirmed cases of AIDS in the
nation. Amongst those cases, there were 377 deaths; horrific evidence that the virus rapidly killed 52% of people affected by it. Of those 731 cases, about 80% involved homosexual patients; however, 20% were comprised of hemophiliacs and blood transfusion recipients (i.e. a person in a motor vehicle accident might be a recipient of a blood transfusion and thereby contract HIV). Some patients
contracted HIV through heterosexual contact. Others were intravenous drug users and others still were children born with the disease. Several servants employed at Buckingham Palace fell ill with HIV/AIDS and even Prince Charles' former personal valet Steve Barry, who worked for the Prince of Wales for twelve years, died in the epidemic.
Prince Charles with his personal valet Steve Barry in the 1970's.
Barry died of AIDS at the age of 37 in October 1987. Photo: Ross Dunn
In the years following Princess Diana's first visit to Middlesex Hospital,
she also visited The London Lighthouse-- a hospice care center. Sometimes she was accompanied by the press. At other times, she was on her own. Although Diana understood the power of media, she was never inclined to schedule her philanthropic behavior around it. In fact, she often invited families of the deceased to dine with her privately at her Kensington Palace residence.
Princess Diana remained active campaigning for the AIDS crisis throughout the nineties. In 1997, in the year of her passing, she visited South Africa, meeting with Nelson Mandela. Mandela was quoted:
"However privileged and famous she was, she had time for the most humble people-- and made them feel special... She often visited dying or desperate people, out of public limelight...
When she stroked the limbs of someone with leprosy, she did more to break the taboos surrounding that disease than any number of books, articles, and health
When she sat on the bed of a man with HIV/AIDS, held his hand and chatted to him naturally as a fellow human being, she struck a tremendous blow against the stigma and superstition which can cause almost as much suffering as
At times, humanity makes great strides toward tolerance and progress. At other moments, it seems we take two steps back. If Princess Diana could have known that the United States and many other nations worldwide would eventually designate an entire month to celebrate and
honor the pride of the LGBTQIA Community, she would have been proud. In the United States, that recognition did not come until 1999-- two years after her tragic death.
We are honored to bring Princess Diana's legacy to life for History Lovers. We hope you will join us as we enliven her spirit in a performance art production that is complemented by the live musical performance of Zoë Knight and the original artwork of Joanna Ciampa. Though Diana is by no means forgotten, it is time to pull back the curtain and discover the woman behind the publicity, in order to be all the more inspired by witnessing her personal
Harlem Hospital, New York City, NY, 1989. Princess Diana held a 7-year-old boy with AIDS.
"Are you heavy?" she asked. The boy shook his head and she scooped him up and held him.
"I don't know why people don't recognize the power they have to do good; to be good. To help people."
Founder | Artistic Director
With support from Collin Robert Smith, Social Media Coordinator.
THURSDAY June 2, 2022
15 Main St, Pepperell, MA
HAP 'n CHAT Presents
FRIDAY June 3, 2022
7:15pmET Zoom Opens; 7:30pmET Program
FRIDAY June 10, 2022
Click HERE to for tickets.
MONDAY June 13, 2022
Sponsored by Medway Historical Society & Medway Cultural Council
Venue: Medway Public Library
223 Main St, Medway, MA
Lexington Historical Society Gala
SATURDAY June 18, 2022
Lexington Historical Society
13 Depot Square, Lexington, MA
(History At Play™, LLC will be in attendance, but will not be performing.)
Enjoy the Depot and Hancock-Clarke grounds in a unique manner as you journey back in time to the era of flappers, bootleggers, and speakeasies.
All proceeds from the fundraiser go toward the transformation of the Depot into our new education and exhibition center. This is a 21+ event.
HAP 'n CHAT Presents
MONDAY June 20, 2022
7:15pmET Zoom Opens; 7:30pmET Program
WEDNESDAY June 22, 2022
75 Central Street, Foxborough, MA
THURSDAY June 23, 2022
123 Elm Street, Millbury, MA
Call 508-865-0855 for tickets.
Offer is valid for a performance booked to occur on or before December 30, 2022. Valid on solo performances only. May not be combined with any other discounts or offers. Applicable for virtual, in-person, or hybrid events. Email info@HistoryAtPlay.com to schedule or call
+1-617-752.2859. Please contact History At Play™, LLC by June 21, 2022 to take advantage of this offer.
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