COURTING THE COUNTESS by Anne Stenhouse opens in the English Border country 1819 and moves quickly to Edinburgh’s George Square, a fashionable address of that period.








Lady Melissa Pateley is not having an easy time of it.

Her beloved husband Neville has died, and a fire at her London home has left her covered in scars. If it wasn’t for a band of loyal servants, she’s not sure how she would survive. Things take a turn for the worse when one day, Colonel Harry Gunn and his fellow soldier Zed break into her home, bundle her into a coach and kidnap her.
She is at a loss until she learns that Harry Gunn is the cousin of George Gunn, a man who has been stalking her for years, and that Harry’s Uncle John had warned him that as long as George is out there, Melissa is not safe.
Uncle John insists that Harry finds Melissa and keeps her safe.
But that very night George shows up at Harry’s home with Harry’s sister Lottie, who thinks Melissa and George would make a good match.
Perhaps Melissa would have been safer at home after all.
Yet even with her scars, she is certain that the handsome Colonel Gunn is attracted to her. But of course, nothing is ever simple.
Startling revelations rip the family apart, causing everyone to question what they once held dear.
As Colonel Gunn goes in search of George and the truth, he has to wonder – had the keeping of secrets not marred more lives than the secrets would have destroyed?

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MuseItUp and amazon. Links are below. What’s it about? Back to London for this one, 1822, when Lady Daisy, sister of Tobias, Earl of Mellon, is recovering from food poisoning.Lady Daisy was one of those secondary characters who simply cried out for a place to tell her own story. So, here it is:

Lady Daisy should be ecstatic when her brother, the earl, allows Mr. John Brent to propose. She’s been plotting their marriage for two years. However, she is surprised to find herself underwhelmed and blames their distant cousin, Reuben, for unsettling her.
Reuben Longreach wonders whether the earl understands the first thing about Daisy’s nature and her need for a life with more drama than the Season allows. It’s abundantly clear to him that Daisy and John are not suited, but the minx accepts his proposal nonetheless.
Meanwhile, Daisy hatches a plan to attach Reuben to her beautiful, beleaguered Scots cousin, Elspeth. Little does she know that Elspeth is the focus of a more sinister plot that threatens Daisy too.
Will Reuben be able to thwart the forces surrounding Daisy before she is irretrievably tied to John? Will Daisy find the maturity to recognise her dilemma may be of her own making before it’s too late?

amazon UK and US or  MuseItUp or kobo


Mariah’s Marriage Mariah Fox is dedicated to being a teacher in 1822 London, but when Tobias, Earl of Mellon saves her from a charging pig, her world view is disturbed forever.

Mariahs Marriage 200x300








Bella’s Betrothal comes north to Edinburgh in 1826. Bella is fleeing scandal and an unhappy home when architect and laird, Charles Lindsay invades her room at the inn. Is he a rescuer or a danger?

An Edinburgh skyscape for Bella

An Edinburgh skyscape for Bella

From Prose to Script – Workshop, Edinburgh Writers’ Club

Tangee Lenton, Copyright Theatre Broad

Tangee Lenton, Copyright Theatre Broad

Thought I’d share this atmospheric photo again as it’s of one of my own short plays, Flights of Fancy, in a production by Theatre Broad of Stirling.

Why today? Well, tonight I’m leading a wee workshop in adapting your short story for the stage and Flights of Fancy was picked up by Theatre Broad after it won an EWC drama writing competition.

7.30, Grosvenor Hilton Hotel, £5 guest fee.

Capital Stories by Anne Stenhouse, Kate Blackadder Jennifer Young Jane Riddell

The Lover – Update

THE LOVER – adapted for the Stage and co-directed by FLEUR DARKIN AND JEMIMA LEVICK is based on the novels by Marguerite Duras runs at the Royal Lyceum Edinburgh until 3rd February.

The desperation of a family set adrift in a foreign country when the head of the household dies and they are sold worthless land, underpins this dark coming of age tale. Like many ex-pat communities, they have divided loyalties. ‘We were all born here,’ Indo-China, Vietnam, the girl says several times. Born here, but not of here and therefore not an acceptable match in the eyes of her lover’s father.

The lover of the story is an only child and his wealthy father’s heir. He cannot find the strength to throw over his culture and marry his love.

The dancing from members of Scottish Dance Theatre was lyrical, sublime and frenetic as the script demanded. The voice soundtrack was occasionally inaudible in the Circle.

Leila Kalbassi’s set was a delight. Having been in a couple of eastern countries including Vietnam, as a tourist, I would have recognised the country from the set.

Tickets here


The Lover – Theatre Made in Edinburgh

The Lover – Theatre Made in Edinburgh is an exciting collaboration between the Royal Lyceum Theatre, Stellar Quines and Scottish Dance Theatre. It opens at The Lyceum on Saturday 20 January 2018 and the run continues until 3rd February.

Tonight, I was privileged to join some of the cast and the directors for a behind the scenes glimpse of theatre in the making. Being a patron of the Royal Lyceum Theatre comes with some wonderful opportunities. What could brighten up a dour winter afternoon more than the chance to hear what the director is thinking, see what the dancers are doing and discuss what it’s all about with other like minded folk?

Not much, methinks.

1930s Vietnam is the setting for The Lover based on the autobiographical novels by Marguerite Duras and adapted for the stage by Fleur Darkin and Jemima Levick. Looking back down the tunnel of memory, how accurate is anyone’s recollection? Duras claimed to be unsentimental. Do we believe her? Was she exploited? Did she exploit?

Amalgamating text with a haunting soundtrack and contemporary dance opens up so much. The tiny section of the production seen tonight in rehearsal was tantalising. I’ve got my ticket. Get yours here:



Taking a short break from the theatre of my life to bring this NEW AND FANTASTIC LOOKING OPPORTUNITY to any writers among my readers.

Short Play Submissions

But – dinnae hang aboot. Closing date is 31 January 2018 at 5pm. Electronic submissions and RULES, folks. Check out the rules.

Good luck,


SCROOGE! – The Musical Pitlochry Festival Theatre

SCROOGE! the musical – Book, Music and Lyrics by Leslie Bricusse  running at Pitlochry Festival Theatre until Friday 23rd is a dramatic delight.

A large cast is headed by Philip Rham and supported by an onstage live band. The band are almost hidden by the set’s chimney pot skyline, but the music is great.

Three sets of youngsters take the juvenile roles and we saw The Red Team who were excellent. But I’m confident the two other teams are good, too. If I might be permitted a minor quibble I found the casts’s voices a little over-miked. Really minor though.

Scrooge is of course based on Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, 1843. The programme notes tell us the original was a commentary on Britain’s infamous Poor Laws with their introduction of Treadmills in the Poor Houses. The piece is as much needed today as it ever was.


Playing Catch-up Democracy and others

Democracy by Michael Frayn is an enthralling play about the late Chancellor of Germany, Willy Brandt and the East German spy, Gunter Guillaume whose presence in Brandt’s inner cabinet, the hat-stand man, proved to be his downfall.

Democracy is at Edinburgh’s King’s Theatre again tonight 0131 529 6000 and is well worth catching. The all male cast is headlined by Tom Hodgkins as Brandt and Neil Caple as Guillaume. Frayn doesn’t stint on the frailties of the human spirit that are the main architects of Brandt’s eventual fall, but he doesn’t labour them either. Both actors turn in rounded performances depicting two men caught by the exigencies of time.

And why no opinions on Hard Times, Role Play and This Happy Breed – all Pitlochry – and Dundee Rep’s energising The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil?

A new book launched and the timing caught me a wee bit by surprise, so online marketing has taken up the computer hours. Courting the Countess takes Beauty and the Beast and turns it on its head. She’s scarred by fire and he’s Greek God Gorgeous. Will it work? Hope you have a kindle and you can find out for yourself.

The plays were great, by the way. Still time to get to Pitlochry.

Oct 1st Edinburgh King’s Theatre, then touring. Rapture Theatre

EIF – The Toad Knew – King’s Theatre

The Toad Knew by James Thierrée and Compagnie du Hanneton opened last night at the King’s Theatre Edinburgh.

I am grateful to Mark Fisher and Dorothy Max Prior whose programme notes fill in and explain so much of the experience that is The Toad Knew. They tell one, for example, of Thiérrée’s circus and theatre forebears. Charlie Chaplin, Victoria Chaplin and Eugene O’Neil for starters are bound to have produced an intellect of depth and a body capable of the strength and grace needed for circus performance.

Supported by Valérie Doucet, Samual Duterte, Maraima, Yann Nédélec and Thi Mai Nguyen onstage, together with puppeteers, and backed up by a formidable array of stage props and costumes, the production is a delightful hour and a half.

Part dream sequences, part clowning, part musical, part acrobatic, part illusion – where did all those plates come from? The ever-moving set was a constant surprise and delight.. Not only was it interesting in that it appeared to be an electrical shop full of upside down saucer-shaped fittings, but the acrobats made full use of it for up-in-the-air performance.

Run continues till Sunday 28th August, ’16. Do go: Tickets are here

EIF 2016 – Measure For Measure

Ruling Heads, Naples

Ruling Heads, Naples


MEASURE FOR MEASURE  presented by Cheek by Jowl and the Pushkin Theatre is a masterly production of a seriously unpleasant play. Why choose this one?

The excellent programme notes provided in part by Cheek by Jowl, in part by James Shapiro and finally Peter Kirwan are full and informative. The play, Measure For Measure, is reckoned to be Shakespeare‘s first Jacobean one, but the text used today is also thought to have been updated by Thomas Middleton. Shakespeare’s play may well have been set in Italy, Ferrara, but the one we now see performed is in Vienna.

James 6th and 1st was obsessed with how his subjects thought and what they did. The Duke, in M for M is likewise interested in how nobly his subjects would behave without his guiding hand. So off he goes, but not far. Disguised as a friar, he lurks in the dark corners of the big city and is soon hearing people’s confessions as they await an illegitimate birth or their own execution. The play covers moral breakdown, personal and political, the over-zealous enforcement of laws and inflexible good as epitomised by the doomed man’s sister, Isabella.

It’s one of the mysteries of the play that one is unable to warm to Isabella until her final few scenes when she is left aghast by the Duke’s decision to marry her (without asking and in the face of the implacable godliness referred to above). I suppose the traditions of the time meant all available child-bearing women needed a husband and this match rounded the numbers off nicely.

Despite the handicap of the story, the production by Declan Donellan and Nick Ormerod with a cast from the Pushkin Theatre, is full of wonderful, quirky beats and an excellent staging. Short scenes and multiple exits and entrances can be an issue with Shakespearean performance, but this production answers the problem by keeping the cast on stage and revolving them as a silent chorus from which the central performers peel off. Three large red boxes provide ample cover for costume changes, although there is a moment of fleeting male nudity.

The play runs at the Lyceum Theatre until Saturday 20th when there’s also a matinée. Tickets are here

EIF 2016 SHAKE -adapted by Dan Jemmett from 12th Night by William Shakespeare

Singers, Bengal

Singers, Bengal

SHAKE is an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. Dan Jemmett and the Eat a Crocodile company have crafted a delightful show full of cultural nods – music hall, end of pier theatricals, cross-dressing set-piece humour, filmic song and dance routines – in French with side-titles.

Identical twins Sebastian and Viola are ship-wrecked and each thinks the other perished. Viola dresses as a man and seeks work as page to Orsini with whom she falls in love. Sebastian is looked after by Antonio, who harbours a hopeless love for him, and eventually Sebastian is married by the beautiful Olivia – who is the object of Orsini’s desire. Okay, still with it? Into the mix, we have Feste, yesterday’s jester, who tells jokes in American English, and Malvolio, the buttoned up steward and perhaps one of Shakespeare’s most well-defined character studies. Not forgetting Sir Toby and Sir Andrew – one of them is a music/pier show dummy and one a drunk.

The Eat a Crocodile company deliver a touching, humorous and polished show from a set of seaside bathing cabins. They sashay through two wonderful hours of acting, singing, dancing, costume changes, a ventriloquist’s dummy and more……….

Tickets for the two remaining performances Sat 13th  2.30 and Sat 13th 7.30 are here

EIF The Glass Menagerie Tennessee Williams

Buy your ticket for The Glass Menagerie here

The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams is a modern masterpiece.

I first encountered The Glass Menagerie when I signed up to study American Literature as part of my English Literature degree at Edinburgh University. I first met director, John Tiffany when I signed up to the Traverse Women’s writing group in the nineties. There’s a sort of quiet satisfaction when areas of one’s life come together in such an unexpected, but altogether satisfactory way.

Five star reviews of this production of The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams, which began life on 2nd February 2013 at the Loeb Drama Center for The American Repertory Theater, abound. I don’t award stars but I don’t argue with those assessments.

Memory is a strange thing. Take six of us witnessing an event and ask us what happened a year later. The accounts will vary. We may not even be able to agree on the result! Add family relations with their perceived inequalities to the mix, and the result will be even further from exact.

Tennessee Williams also stirs physical disability, mental instability and the pernicious effect of the Great Depression into his pot. The results are reaching boiling point when the play opens and bubble up to engulf the stove by the end.

Cherry Jones reprises her role of Amanda Wingfield and what mother in the audience hasn’t felt the frustrations she’s experiencing? Amanda is a monster of motherhood, but the reasons are compelling. Tom Wingfield her much put-upon son and financial support comes in for almost all of the flak. He is not, however, his absent father. He is a young man with his hopes and ideals shackled by duty. Laura, the daughter with a mild visible disability, which gentleman-caller, Jim, had to be reminded of, and a much greater personality disorder, is the catalyst for all that ensues. Her mother does not, or will not, take on board the issues. She does delude herself though, that Jim, the much wanted gentleman-caller, will resolve all them all for the future of her vulnerable adult daughter.

The audience sighed with satisfaction as the house went dark. It’s by no means a happy ending, but the cast and the direction brought The Glass Menagerie to life with such care, all the over-heards while leaving were of an evening that could not have been better spent.

Buy your tickets here. There are another 11 performances till run ends 21st August.