This June, the Pitlochry Festival Theatre production of The Maggie Wall, Martin McCormick’s acclaimed play, is set to make a welcome return to the Studio in Pitlochry from 9 to 28 June.
The play was inspired by a mysterious monument built in Dunning in Perthshire, commemorating the death of a woman who was supposedly tried and executed in the 17th century for witchcraft.
Co–produced with Aberdeen Arts Centre, The Maggie Wall explores the vulnerability of women and the injustices suffered by them in a patriarchal and closed community, resonating with contemporary experiences, as well as reminding us of a chapter of Scottish and British history in which many people, predominantly women, were accused, tried and killed as suspected witches.
‘The Maggie Wall’ is the site of a mysterious marker to a woman tried and executed in the 17th century for witchcraft. It’s a collection of stones standing about 20 feet high, bearing the words in white lettering, “Maggie Wall burnt here 1657 as a witch”.
The mystery, however, is that no record of a woman called Maggie Wall has ever been discovered. There is no evidence of her crimes, and nothing to indicate what she did to warrant the label of ‘witch’. Historians now believe that Maggie Wall’s monument is, in fact, a memorial to honour the memory of all the women executed, using Maggie as a mythical figure to represent those who were accused of witchcraft and lost their lives as a result.
The Maggie Wall is performed by acclaimed Scottish actress Blythe Jandoo whose theatre credits include Gypsy and Sunshine on Leith (Pitlochry Festival Theatre), Peter Pan (Clyde Auditorium Glasgow), and who featured in the Walt Disney Picture’s Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast. Blythe is currently appearing in the Pitlochry Festival Theatre’s 2023 production of Gypsy and will shortly be seen at the Theatre in The Secret Garden.
Perthshire based Martin McCormick is a writer, actor and director. He won the Critics’ Awards Theatre in Scotland (CATS) award for Best New Play in 2014 for his play Squash. His theatre credits include 22 Mays (Pitlochry Festival Theatre), South Bend (Grid Iron), Ma, Pa and the Little Mouths (National Theatre of Scotland/Tron Theatre), The Day The Pope Emptied Croy (Traverse Theatre) and most recently Oh When the Saints (Perth Theatre).
Martin McCormick said about the return of The Maggie Wall:
“I’m thrilled that Pitlochry Festival Theatre’s production of The Maggie Wall, along with Amy’s direction and Blythe’s performance, are reaching a wider audience in 2023. Maggie’s story is a fictionalised account of an individual tried and executed as a witch in 17th century rural Scotland. However, the themes of my narrative; a young woman being persecuted, subjugated, and imprisoned by a patriarchy, are tragically valid and real.”
Director of Aberdeen Arts Centre Amy Liptrott added:
“The Maggie Wall is a visceral, intimate, and thought-provoking play. I feel very lucky to be directing Blythe Jandoo again for a co-production of Martin’s brilliant play with Pitlochry Festival Theatre, and in October, the production will be part of a very special celebration at Aberdeen Arts Centre. The persecution Maggie suffers, sadly, isn’t a thing of fiction and, in sharing her story, we remember the injustice of the Witch Trials and the injustice consistently suffered by persecuted people ever since.”
The Maggie Wall will be in the Studio at Pitlochry Festival Theatre from 9 to 28 June.
Tickets for The Maggie Wall are available from the Pitlochry Festival Theatre Box Office on 01796 484626 or online at www.pitlochryfestivaltheatre.com