Carla ALMEIDA, Museu da Vida / Fiocruz, Brazil
Carolina FOLINO, Museu da Vida / Fiocruz, Brazil
Theatrical activities on science and health topics have become a recurring phenomenon in science communication and have been conquering different spaces and audiences. There is a great diversity of initiatives being developed along these lines, but the scientific literature on the subject is still scarce, particularly in the field of science communication, and an important part of it consists of evaluative studies. Thus, little is known about how theatre has in fact contributed to public engagement in science. The authors of this work are part of a research group that is dedicated to the theme and that, through the analysis of different theatrical activities developed within the scope of science communication, seek to better understand this phenomenon. At the Science & You conference, we propose to present the results of a reception study carried out with the audience of the play “O rapaz da rabeca e a moça Rebeca”, produced by the Museu da Vida, a science museum located in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). In order to analyse the play's potential to engage young people in the HIV / AIDS debate, we visited four schools where the play had been presented about six months earlier and conducted 25 interviews and 8 focus groups with a total of 72 young people who had watched the play. We found that the play was well received by the students, who remembered much of its plot, as well as the humour and the music played live at the show. Such memories were connected, at different levels, with their contexts and experiences. The memories about the debate with the actors after the presentations were mainly associated with the demonstration of the use of the male condom and the fact that they could ask questions anonymously, without feeling judged. We found that AIDS is not a recurring theme in the daily lives of these students and that they are unaware of treatment and other forms of HIV prevention in addition to male condoms. Even so, the theatrical activity generated reflections on themes related to the disease, such as health, prevention, gender issues, stigma and discrimination. We concluded, therefore, that the strategy of uniting health and theatre in a science communication activity was successful in encouraging young people to reflect on AIDS in a broad sense. We hope that actions like this can contribute to discussions about issues that enhance and / or limit debate about HIV / AIDS in the public sphere, especially among the most vulnerable populations, such as young people.