A former prostitute uses theatre to turn her life around and help others leave the streets and imagine a better future.

Acting Lessons. Maria, as she prepares for her role as the First Lady.

“I have always been surrounded by poverty and it was poverty that stole what was most precious to me.” Maria is fighting back. After 10 years of poverty, prostitution, drugs and crime, she is turning her life around through theatre, expressing her past experiences and helping others to leave prostitution.

She juggles a tough life. As a street vendor she struggles to support her daughter as a single parent and cope with having HIV. But on the stage she shines with the joys of being part of a theatre troupe, many of them former prostitutes, who are trying to make a difference through their art.

The film follows Maria starring as the ‘First Lady’ in a modern adaptation of Lysistrata, the Greek story of how women withheld sex to persuade their husbands to negotiate peace.

From early rehearsals to opening night we see her and her troupe cope with the highs and lows behind the scenes. Against this backdrop, Maria and her teenage daughter grapple with the impact of Maria’s HIV status, her past and the challenges facing women in Colombia today.

Through this film we will see some of the challenges being faced by Colombian women through Maria’s remarkable story.

In Colombia, prostitution, though legal, also represents the leading edge of human trafficking, which is widespread and often exacerbated by political violence and drug trafficking.

The capital city, Bogota, is a major centre from which women and girls are trafficked across Latin America to the Caribbean, western Europe, Asia, and North America.

Young women and juveniles are often forced into the trade by gangs or as a consequence of earlier encounters with domestic violence. The most recent statistics indicate that there are as many as 35,000 child prostitutes in Colombia.