Skip to main content

A Contact and BHA for Equality production. Written by Cheryl Martin. Directed by Alix Harris.

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

Tour Dates

Thursday 11 October, 7pm
CGL Change Grow Live, Phoenix Mill, 20 Piercy St, Manchester, M4 7HY. Tickets free, available here.

Tuesday 16 October, 1pm
Rochdale Literature and Ideas Festival. Tickets free, available here.

Saturday 20 October, 7pm
Limelight, 1 St Brides Way, Old Trafford, M16 9NW.  Tickets free, available here.


Antonia Kemi Coker
Etta Fusi
Fejiro Emasiobi
Rick Bithell

Antonia Kemi Coker
Antonia’s work has spanned over 25 years in National, International, Regional and West End Theatre, TV and Radio. Companies worked for include: WYP, Tangle, Collective Artistes, Compulsive Theatre, Theatre 503, Utopia, Royal Stratford East, Stratford Circus, Theatre West, Theatre Rites, Polka, Birmingham Rep, Chipping Norton, Talawa, Drill Hall, Yellow Earth, Creative Origins & Spare Tyre

Etta Fusi
Etta trained at the Manchester School of Theatre. Her most recent credits include; Coronation Street (ITV) D For Dexter ( BBC Radio 4) Twenty-One Pounds (Cheltenham Everyman) A Streetcar Named Desire (Royal Exchange), On Corporation Street (HOME Mcr& ANU Productions), SUNDER (ANU Productions),The Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass Dir. by Helena Kaut-Howson. Short Film ‘Leg. Arm. Head’ Dir. Scout Stuart and Carnival of Souls, a binaural audio experience Dir. by Bren O’Callaghan in association with Cornerhouse/HOME mcr

Fejiro Emasiobi
Fejiro recently graduated from The Guildford School of Acting. Credits whilst training include: Tom in ‘Earthquakes in London’ (GSA), Messenger in ‘Antigone’ (GSA), Brian in ‘Road’ (GSA), Mark Antony ‘Antony and Cleopatra’ (GSA), and Brick in ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’ (GSA)

Rick Bithell
Rick’s recent acting credits include theatre, TV & film. Rick is also co-founder of troublehouse theatre as well as director of Plough On Sunday productions & the Preston Young Actors company. He regularly tutors with the Lowry theatre, Salford and the Dukes theatre, Lancaster.


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

  • Ages