by Anita Sullivan

Pricked HIV virus


Roz is an ordinary 38-year-old British woman who sells life assurance. Her story starts with a cough, and ends up in intensive care. But it doesn't finish there. Roz learns that living can be even messier than dying. The play is an acerbic, character-driven road-trip through HIV diagnosis, towards long-term survival on medication. Finally, Roz confronts the man she believes infected her. The female perspective distinguishes 'Pricked' from other HIV plays, and connects it to current issues.

Pricked was commissioned and developed by the Drum Theatre, who are co-produced the play with Ripple. It premiered at The Assembly Rooms for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2005 then toured to Plymouth Theatre Royal and Bath Theatre Royal in June 2006 (same cast and production team).

Duration: 1 hour 20 minutes.


Roz        -(Typing at computer) Hello Duncan. How are you? …Dead yet? …I’m going to be passing through Portsmouth next week and wondered if you fancied meeting up for a... Poison chalice… catch-up. I have. Some. News. Exclamation mark. Get in touch.

Love. Delete.

Yours. Delete.

Best wishes. Roz.

I’ve been told I don’t have to confront Duncan. That it isn’t necessary. But it is. I need to see Duncan’s face when he sees me.

Duncan   -Hello stranger.

Roz         -A reply! There he is sitting in my inbox, certified scanned for viruses. He’s alive.

Duncan    -Nice to hear from you. Interested to hear big news. Let me know when you’ll be in town. Great little place opened up on the marina. I’m off work next week, so call the mobile. Best wishes…

D&R         -Duncan Shaw.

Roz          -He has lowered his drawbridge over the cyberspace void. Calm as an assassin, I step across.


National Aids Trust:

AVERT International HIV charity:

Terrence Higgins Trust:

Positive Nation Magazine:

World Aids Day:



"Anita Sullivan's Pricked is an outstandingly clever, classy and heartfelt piece of work... Ruth Mitchell's performance as Roz is beautiful and she has terrific support from Derek Frood." The Scotsman, Joyce McMilla

"With sharp and witty dialogue, Ruth Mitchell as Roz takes us on a roller-coaster ride of emotions... Pricked should be compulsory viewing for all schools or colleges...and for all those ostriches who think "that could never happen to me"! Elaine McFadyen BBC Devonn

"There's a fair dose of comedy in Anita Sullivan's play about an unexpected HIV diagnosis... Roz is played with great skill by Ruth Mitchell... Pricked is a beautifully told and romantic tale, albeit with a hard core". Three Weeks

"Pricked is a beautiful, well-paced play that builds its dramatic tension carefully. It features a moving performance from Ruth Mitchell and a dozen cameos from character actor Derek Frood who effortlessly moves from part to part with the greatest skill. This is a quiet, angry show that should not be missed." British Theatre Guide, Philip Fisher

"Tying it all together is the simple direction of David Prescott. The overall effect is a beautiful piece of theatre about life and the consequence of seemingly inconsequential acts. Pricked shows us all the strenght that we have within ourselves." Lisa Bennie, Scottish Theatre Web

"Buy a ticket... a great piece of new theatre" Chris Cooke, Three Weeks (Feature)

"Real writing, and real theatre. Recommended." Ritchie Smith, Edinburgh Guide



Pricked dance

Pricked stage play

Pricked on stage



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