Hear Us Now: Reimagining the Future of Boston’s Catholic Community through Storytelling and Theatre

How does a community rebuild after a breach of trust? What happens when our notion of home evolves across generations and the old model no longer fits? How do individuals displaced from their homes because of abuse, trauma, or shifting values forge new communities where they feel safe and supported?  

Hear Us Now is part of my doctoral research in developing ways to make portrayals of trauma in literature more empowering for survivors and communities. At heart, this is a documentary theatre project following the evolving intergenerational identity of Boston’s Catholic community; from Boomers who remember a time when the clergy held absolute power, to Gen X and Millennials who came of age during Boston’s Clergy sex abuse scandal, to Gen Z forging their own paths.

Using documentary theatre methodology as a lens to view the truth from multiple perspectives, Hear Us Now brings powerful testimony to light from Catholic individuals who have historically been silenced; women, mothers, queer and questioning youth, etc. The interviews reveal unexpected insights into the resilience of this community. How does a queer ex Catholic go from trying to pray away the gay to accepting David Bowie as her personal saviour? What would a Boomer mom say to Cardinal Law if she had the chance? Why is Christmas Eve Mass a surprisingly great training ground for a career in theatre? What, if anything, would ex-Catholics bring with them from the church into their new lives?  

Alyssa Terese Osiecki, University of Glasgow