12:52am Sunday 12 July 2020

Theatre pilot tackles Chlamydia epidemic

Creative Industries research student Lisa Smith is working with 15 of QUT‘s second year drama students to create a series of scenarios and workshop activities that tackle key sexual health issues, using the language of teenagers.

Called Heart-to-Heart, the prototype resources will include two short films focusing on Chlamydia and the notions of consent, negotiation and respectful relationships.

“Young people across the nation are facing a sexually transmitted infection (STI) crisis,” Ms Smith said.

“Chlamydia is the most commonly notified bacterial STI in the developed world.

“Here in Australia, statistics show Chlamydia notifications are increasing by as much as 20 per cent each year – and they are growing the fastest by far in the 15-19 age group, which is very concerning.

“Some sexual health services have recently closed down across Brisbane so it’s important our pilot resources help teens understand the risks associated with Chlamydia and other STIs, and what they can do to avoid infection.

“Consent is also a risky area for teens, especially in terms of making appropriate decisions while intoxicated with alcohol or drugs.”

Ms Smith is ideally placed to deliver the theatre-based project.

Not only is she an accomplished singer, actor and playwright; she’s an experienced clinical and community nurse.

Ms Smith said the QUT drama students’ input into the content would make the resources more meaningful and relevant to teenagers.

She is facilitating a series of workshops with the drama students, where they discuss key issues about STIs and consent and develop scenarios that explore them in depth.

The students refine the scripts with the help of QUT’s educational theatre experts and will soon perform the final scenarios in front of a camera.

“This project is a two-pronged approach to delivering sexual health education because we’re skilling up our drama students as much as we’re skilling up teenagers in the community,” Ms Smith said.

“We’re passing on vital sexual health information to these 15 drama students and showing them how they can use the latest in theatre techniques to deliver targeted messages.

“Many of these students will go on to become drama teachers and their newfound knowledge will have a trickle-down effect in schools across the state.

“They’ll also have a new educational tool they can apply to any classroom activity, regardless of the content.”

The Heart-to-Heart pilot has been made possible through a grant from the Metro North Brisbane Medicare Local.

Ms Smith expects the Heart-to-Heart resources from the pilot project will be completed in mid 2014.

Media contact:
Kate Haggman, QUT Media, 3138 0358 or [email protected]
After hours Rose Trapnell, 0407 585 901

About Metro North Brisbane Medicare Local
The Metro North Brisbane Medicare Local believes in a community where good health is available to everyone. It improves access to health care for communities across Brisbane’s north and Moreton Bay by providing innovative approaches to coordinate health care services. Medicare Locals are a national network and gratefully acknowledge the financial and other support from the Australian Government Department of Health.

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