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Photo by Nour Annan



“The sacramental seal is inviolable; therefore it is absolutely forbidden for a confessor to betray in any way a penitent in words or in any manner and for any reason.” Code of Canon Law, 983 §1, Holy See


Breaking the Seal is an interactive performance that positions the Catholic confessional as a site of violence—a key element in the sexual abuse of children by clergy. Taking cues from the landmark 2002 Boston Globe Spotlight investigation that publicly revealed the Archdiocese of Boston’s institutional cover-up of child sexual abuse, Breaking the Seal asks the audience to join the artist in his exploration of the spatial nature of Catholic confessionals in the Boston area.


Bringing together press coverage, legal documents, illustrations, audio recordings, and a designed confessional booth, this intimate performance exposes the politics of Catholic confessionals.


Lead Artist Garrett Sager

Scenic Designer Aya Rebai

Costume Designer and Builder Haitham Haddad

Dramaturg Olivia Hall

Technical Director Brandon Hall

Illustrator Erik Long

Voice Performers Cameron Price, Luka Gotsiridze, Gerard Hurley, Timand Bates, and Erik Long

Production Assistants Jina Rishmawi and Nestor Rosten

Photography by Nour Annan and Nastya Dzutstsati


Breaking the Seal was developed as an M.A. thesis project at the OSUN Center for Human Rights and the Arts (CHRA) at Bard College. The project received additional funding and support from the Experimental Humanities Collaborative Network (EHCN).

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