Penance (Staged Reading)

OCTOBER 2019

Who will protect the victims of those who hide behind the confessional? What is to be their penance?


Penance by Sara Jarrold
Staged Reading Produced by Megan J Riedl
Ballarat Trades Hall 27 October 2019
Directed by Megan J Riedl
Performed by Damien Pree, Sarah Spaven, Tim Harris, Ryan Tracey and Craig Coulson.

Penance, by Sara Jarrold, is a play “of exquisite relevance to the problem of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church today.” It has been described as “absorbing, thought provoking”, “intense and sensitive” and with a “brilliant twist”.

I’ve always been interested in stories which shine a light on the untold, shameful or hidden side of our society. I am a firm believer in live performance as a powerful medium for changing minds and addressing social justice issues.

The universal themes in the play really spoke to me. I think this text has more to say about humanity and power and is not simply a story about the abuses which occurred within the Catholic Church. At the centre of the text is the powerlessness of individuals against the institution and the risk that whistle-blowers take to themselves in order to have victims stories heard and needs met. These things happen in so many situations across the world – in families, in business and in institutions like the Catholic Church.

Sara’s passion for this story and its potential to be a vehicle for healing within the Ballarat and wider communities is so genuine and comes from a caring place, and I was honoured that she trusted me to deliver it. I knew I could gather a great cast to do her text proud and love to be able to give opportunities to local theatre-makers to be a part of new and challenging work for the stage.

$630 of proceeds from the performance was donated to the Ballarat Victims’ Memorial Fund.

The play reading was followed by a Q & A forum, featuring the writer, direct, actors and Maureen Hatcher (LOUD fence), hosted by Tara Poole (Coordinator Creative City, City of Ballarat).

Sara Jarrold, Megan J Riedl & Maureen Hatcher

Proudly supported by LOUD fence and Ballarat Trades Hall.

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