Plays by Linda McLean

Any Given Day  

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Linda McLean's play Any Given Day is a drama about urban isolation, our fear of the unknown, and our guilt and responsibility towards ourselves and others. It was first performed at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, on 29 May 2010.

The play is divided into two acts or 'plays'. In Play One, we meet Bill (fifties) and Sadie (forties), a couple with mental disabilities, who live in a council-owned flat in the city. They are eagerly expecting a visit from their niece Jackie, but instead their day takes a turn for the worse, and their world is turned upside down when a stranger intrudes. Then, in Play Two, we meet Jackie (forties), who is working in a bar after having to give up her job as a nurse. When the bar's owner, Dave, passes on a phone message from her son, it leads Jackie to reassess her priorities and her emotional needs, and to throw caution to the wind.

The Traverse Theatre production was directed by Jonathan Fensom and designed by Lizzie Powell. It was performed by Kathryn Howden, Lewis Howden, Kate Dickie, Phil McKee and Jamie Quinn.

Glory On Earth  

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Linda McLean's play Glory on Earth is a historical drama about Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots. It was first performed at the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh on 20 May 2017.

The play is set in Scotland between 1561 and 1563. The French-raised Mary Stuart arrives in Leith docks with her female retinue. She is eighteen and on her young shoulders rest the hopes of the Catholic establishment of Europe. The nation that receives her has just outlawed her church and its practices. Its leader is the radical cleric and protestant reformer, John Knox. Both believe themselves ordained by God. Both believe themselves beloved by their people. Both were exiled and returned home... but only one can make Scotland their own.

The premiere production was directed by David Greig and designed by Karen Tennent. It was performed by Rona Morison (as Mary), Jamie Sives (as John Knox), Christina Gordon, Christie Gowans, Kirsty Eila McIntyre, Hannah Jarrett-Scott, Shannon Swan and Fiona Wood.

Sex & God  

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Linda McLean's play Sex & God is a drama about faith, lust and family, as four women from different moments in the twentieth century talk across time. It was commissioned by Magnetic North and first performed at Platform, Glasgow, on 27 September 2012.

The play brings together the stories of four women from across the twentieth century, presented through interwoven monologues: Jane is a kitchen maid, the first in her family to move to the big city for work; Lizzie is passionate but unskilled and permanently dodging poverty; Sally is an early school-leaver who escapes a dangerous relationship by working her way into a profession; and Fiona is the first in her family to go to university, only to discover a world of bewildering choices.

The Magnetic North production was directed by Nicholas Bone and designed by Claire Halleran. It was performed by Ashley Smith, Lesley Hart, Louise Ludgate and Natalie Wallace.


Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Linda McLean's play Shimmer is a lyrical drama about three generations of memory and experience, as three women and three men take refuge from the weather in a Bed and Breakfast by Loch Lomond. It was first performed at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, on 30 July 2004.

The play takes place at a B&B in Tarbet, between Loch Lomond and Loch Long. Twenty-something Petal is seriously ill. She is on her way, along with her mother Missy, and her grandmother Hen, to the island of Iona, looking for a miracle. When their train is halted by floods, they are forced to stay at the B&B and contemplate different endings to their adventure. Also staying at the B&B are Jim, Guy and Sonny. Guy is determined to make his own adventure, but Jim and Sonny's experiences make them equally determined to shelter him and stop history repeating.

The Traverse Theatre production was directed by Lynne Parker and designed by Monica Frawley. It was performed by Hilary Lyon, Una McLean, Lesley Hart, Finlay Welsh, Paul Rattray and Iain Macrae.

strangers, babies  

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Linda McLean's play strangers, babies is a drama about a woman trying to escape the sins of her past. It was first performed at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, on 23 February 2007.

The play is structured as five independent dialogues. The central character, May, appears in each of them, and in each one she is talking to a different man. In the first, she and her husband Dan have a disagreement over what to do about an injured baby bird on their flat's balcony; while May doggedly insists on rescuing the bird, Dan is resistant to the idea. With each subsequent encounter, we discover more about May's troubled background, her history of violence, and her instinct to nurture.

The Traverse Theatre production was directed by Philip Howard and designed by Lisa Sangster. It was performed by Gillian Kearney (as May), Liam Brennan, Sean Scanlan, Gavin Marshall, Iain Robertson and Garry Collins.

Linda McLean is a Scottish playwright based in Glasgow. Her plays include Glory on Earth, Every Five Minutes, Any Given Day, Sex & God, strangers, babies, Shimmer, Riddance, One Good Beating, Thingummy Bob, and an adaptation of Alice Munro’s The View From Castle Rock for Stellar Quines and the EIBF.
Linda was the Creative Fellow at Edinburgh University’s Institute of Advanced Studies in Humanities in 2011. She was Chair of the Playwrights’ Studio, Scotland from 2008–2015, and she is an artistic associate of Magic Theatre, San Francisco.
An anthology of her work, translated into French by Sarah Vermande and Blandine Pelissiér, was published in 2015 by Actes Sud-Papiers.