“When £65 is stolen from a church collection pot, a vicious blame game starts to unravel some of the community’s deepest secrets. Friends turn on each other, families break apart – and amongst the chaos someone is chewing up something much more sinister than a few missing pounds…
Prepare for shocking revelations in this brand-new play exploring faith, religion and power, and how darkness can lurk in the holiest of places.”
About the Play
Revelations is a new play written by Saoirse D Byrne that is being directed and produced by Applied Theatre Graduate, Elena Yianni. It is a project that has brought 15 early/emerging artists from diverse backgrounds together to collaborate and stage this unorthodox, compelling, avant-garde production.
Under a holy roof, ‘taboo’ is a well known word. Generations of abuse and misuse of power within these institutions have led to many people nowadays associating religion with old-world, conservative, and intolerant ideologies, which have no place in our modern society. Alternatively, some view religion as a form of denial–a way of escaping the worst parts of life, such as death, war, and natural disasters, by convincing yourself that it is all part of a ‘bigger plan’ for the world. Others simply feel that religion is not important to their lives, and therefore don’t feel the need to take part in it.
We are looking to explore these complex relationships with religion, and also our own experiences of religion as young people. We aim to show the conflict between the joys of personal faith and the community that can be found through religion, versus the understanding of the way religion continues to be weaponised against vulnerable and marginalised people, and how it can be used as a way of trying to excuse intolerant behaviour.
We have chosen to use a close-knit Catholic community as the setting in which we will tackle these questions and have made this decision for a number of reasons: firstly, our writer, Saoirse Byrne, has grown up within the Catholic church, and whilst she still considers herself to be a Catholic, she has seen first-hand how the teachings of the church can be used to hurt and manipulate vulnerable people. In addition to this, Catholicism is a prime example of a religion with a clearly defined hierarchy and power structure, and historically has wielded great political power, in some places being more influential than a nation’s own government. The Church as an institution can sometimes feel entirely separate from the faith that Catholics share, and we believe this makes it a perfect setting in which to explore the themes of our play.
Recent research (Article Links can be found at the end) shows that every year less and less young people define themselves as religious, and even for those that do, they do not practise their religion with the same integrity as older generations. With this in mind, what could the future hold for the Church, and other religious institutions? Will they be able to adapt to the changing times, or are they doomed to fade into myth, like so many before them?
From the creators:
The writer and director of this play are both religious individuals, who with this production are looking to explore and question the power of religious establishments against the strength of individual faith. Additionally, they are wanting to look deeper into the concept of faith, the relationship between young people and religion, and the abuse of power by religious institutions, in this instance the Catholic Church.
From the writer, Saoirse D Byrne:
“As a queer person who was raised and educated within the Catholic community, my relationship with religion has always been something that I have been keen to explore within my writing. I am constantly seeking to question and develop my understanding of my own personal faith, and how - or even if - I can consider myself a part of an institution which is so deeply flawed, and how I can reconcile my own personal beliefs with the actions of the Catholic Church, considering all the harm that has been caused by the people in power.
In my experience, people within the Catholic community often find themselves with this same struggle, where they disagree with the Church itself and yet still find comfort and hope in their own beliefs - indeed, the Church often seems to be in disagreement with itself over what is acceptable and what isn’t. This is the messy and confusing side of religion, which is not often explored, and which I would like to shine a light on - not demonising or throwing my support in one particular corner, but exploring the different viewpoints and different people’s own complex relationships with religion, whilst also examine the power structures within the Church and the damage that can be caused as a result of them.”