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,


The Watching Brief

Drama is a collaborative art and on Sunday evening I joined in a great example of this when Citadel Arts Group held a rehearsed reading of Act One of their Work-in-Progress: Leith’s Hidden Treasure. The venue was upstairs in The Granary Bar on The shore – where their production will air in June.

Leith Hospital

The local hospital is way up there with the store, the school and the big employers as a source of long-held and deeply felt memories. Playwright, Laure C Paterson and Citadel Artistic Director, Liz Hare have taken these memories and woven an affecting tale of the early 1960s.

Janey is on the verge of being a big girl, eleven, and she shares with us the stories of her struggling family whose penury, if not poverty, is ever-present. We also meet young nurse, Nurse Williams, who is training in Leith hospital and fighting her youthful instincts to accept the strictures of the training regime. The play brings the two worlds together and human drama, comic and tragic, flows naturally from the collision.

The excellent cast of Citadel regular players held the audience entranced and at the end we were asked to give the company feedback. A really worthwhile evening, encouraging all of us to return to Leith Festival in June to see the finished work performed. Besides wanting to know how the hook at the end of Act one is resolved, there’s the prospect of your comment having being accepted. What more could an audience ask?

The M’Connachie in us All: Call The Midwife

I’m reading Jennifer Worth’s wonderful book, Call The Midwife. Last night I read the chapters about her relationship with the nun, Sister Evangelina. Apart from telling the story of this remarkable woman, Worth mulls over the fact that the relationship never became one of trust, or respect or even tolerance. Everything she did prompted criticism and that caused her to be clumsy and awkward in the nun’s presence.

This morning, during that lovely period of being awake but not alert, a possible answer occurred to me. Did Sister Evangelina sense Worth’s writer’s observation and resist it? Did she see that while Worth the nurse and midwife was all she should be, there was another dimension? The standing apart that we all practise while the stories lodge in our brains is evident to many. It’s Barrie’s M’Connachie in us all.

What’s With Drama?

Children love performing their little dramas, sketches and puppet shows for the family. They enjoy the chance to show off to the most important people in their lives and the most important people in their lives love watching.

When does that change? Maybe when the cute factor stops overriding bad theatre. Maybe when only some of the cast have their heart in it. Maybe when the performers stop being performers and begin to be audience.

In my own case, it was when I realised I wanted to create the words for others to use. I wanted to see what movement they inspired in the actors, what subtext they suggested to the director and what questions they aroused in the audience member.

When anyone asks why do you write plays, (as opposed to novels, short stories etc) I used to find it difficult to answer. I still do because creating a play has so many more imponderables than a piece that will become hard copy. In the end, I think it has to be drama because I think mainly in conversations. Over and over they turn as I edit and trim till the right words are spoken by the right person.