Falmouth performances to mark World AIDS Day

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FALMOUTH — Deborah Freedman spent 10 years traveling with the AIDS Memorial Quilt, collecting stories of courage, love and hope along the way.

Now she’ll present some of those stories in a special show designed to commemorate World AIDS Day.

On Dec. 1 at the Footlights Theater in Falmouth, Freedman will stage a program called, “I Choose to Love: The Quiet Triumph of the Heart,” which is based on a book she wrote.

Shows are at 7 and 9 p.m. and admission is pay-what-you-can.

World AIDS Day is “an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, to show support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate those who have died from an AIDS-related illness,” according to the event website.

More than 30 years after the disease was first identified, over 35 million people around the world have died of HIV or AIDS, “making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history,” the World AIDS Day website states.

“World AIDS Day is important because it reminds the public and government that HIV has not gone away, (that) there is still a vital need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education,” the website adds.

Freedman, who is co-founder of the Maine Organization Of Storytelling Enthusiasts, is also a quilter, and in 1989 she began helping people around the state make panels to add to the AIDS Memorial Quilt.

The quilt is the “largest public art display the world has ever seen,” according to the memorial quilt website.

It “has redefined the tradition of quilt-making in response to contemporary circumstances,” the site states, and serves as “a memorial, a tool for education and a work of art.”

“The quilt is a unique creation, an uncommon and uplifting response to the tragic loss of human life.”

To further the purpose of the quilt, which is to remember those who have died from HIV and AIDS, many of the panels are accompanied by letters, biographies and photos, “all of which speak to the experience of life in the age of AIDS,” the quilt website says.

“Documenting the effect on those lost and those left behind, these documentary materials, when combined with the quilt panel images, make a rich tapestry of information, a legacy to future generations.”

Kate Irish Collins can be reached at 710-2336 or kcollins@theforecaster.net. Follow Kate on Twitter: @KIrishCollins.

Storyteller Deborah Freedman is holding a special World AIDS Day eventDec. 1 at the Footlights Theater in Falmouth.