Secret Survivors

2011
Theater

About the Production

Secret Survivors is an interview-based theater project featuring adult survivors of child sexual abuse telling their personal stories on stage. Due to social taboos, very few survivors ever share their stories publicly. The majority of survivors never report their abuse to state authorities, and many never tell anyone at all. Conceived for Ping Chong and Company in 2009 by Amita Swadhin, an anti-violence activist and survivor, Secret Survivors represents the diverse ways this violence occurs and grapple with the many reasons that most survivors remain silent.

Secret Survivors seeks to use direct personal narrative to show that this violence is wide-spread, to represent the diverse ways this violence occurs, and grapple with the many reasons that most survivors remain silent.

Secret Survivors National Initiative

In order to expand the impact of Secret Survivors beyond the theatrical production, Ping Chong and Company created a national initiative to use theater to  raise awareness of child sexual abuse and encourage prevention and advocacy to end it.  In 2012, Ping Chong and Company released Secret Survivors: Using Theater to Break the Silence, a documentary film directed by Melanie Vi Levy, which explores the Secret Survivors theater production, and includes voices of survivors and advocates working in the field of child sexual abuse prevention. The documentary was released with an accompanying toolkit, a resource for facilitating workshops and discussion around child sexual abuse. Additionally, Ping Chong and Company created a training initiative to support non-arts organzation around the country in creating their own productions modeled on PCC’s original Secret Survivors production, featuring the voices and experiences of child sexual abuse survivors. Productions were created in Oregon, New York, Michigan, Minnesota, and Mexico. In the decade since Secret Survivors was released, the documentary has been screened in dozens of communities, and the toolkit is in use by over 100 community organizations, as tools for community-based dialogue and action.

For more information about Secret Survivors, or to purchase the toolkit, please contact Sara Zatz: [email protected]

Production Team And Cast

Conceived by

Amita Swadhin

Directed by

Sara Zatz

Written by

Sara Zatz, in collaboration with the performers

Lighting Design

Brant Thomas Murray

Sound Design

Kumi Ishizawa

Production Manager

Courtney Golden

Cast

Gabriella Callender, Lucia Leandro Gimeno, RJ Maccani, Diana Sands, and Amita Swadhin

Performance History

Workshops

Brecht Forum, Brooklyn, NY (2010)

Premiere

El Museo del Barrio, New York, NY (2011)

Tours

Ms. Foundation for Women Grantee Convening, Chaska, MN

New York University, New York, NY

Allied Media Conference, Detroit, MI

Undesirable Elements Festival, La MaMa, New York, NY (October 2012)

Funders

Ms. Foundation for Women

Caruso Foundation

Amita Swadhin was a recipient of the Asian Women’s Giving Circle.