Plays on Male CSA Themes

Since the late nineteenth century playwrights in North America and Europe have been producing plays on themes concerning the sexual abuse of males. Authors range from well-known professionals to newcomers writing plays for the first time, and include both men and women. Nine survivors have written plays (Martin Moran has written two), and among these we include Vinnie Nauheimer, who is a father writting in support of his son, who was abused by a Catholic priest. Some look at the problem from the point of view of the victim, while others pose questions concerning abusers.

Approaches range from comedy to tragedy, and only one play (Stephen Fry's Latin!, written when he was a student) fails to take the subject seriously. Abuse by both male and female perpetrators is covered, and incest, child prostitution, and institutional abuse are well represented. Only one of the 47 plays (Charlton’s ecstasy + GRACE, 2001) deals with “stranger danger,” which, interestingly enough, reflects the low incidence of abuse cases of this type. In these plays the connection between sexual abuse and other social issues is often explored. It is worth noting that already in 1951, de Montherlant was raising questions concerning sexual abuse by Catholic clergy, which becomes an especially prominent theme after the Boston revelations in 2002. Most of the plays are in English (from the United States, Canada, England, Scotland, and Ireland), but there are also works in German, French, and Danish.

The date immediately following the title of the play is the date of the first public performance, which can differ significantly from the date of publication of the script.