Since maggie went away



How international headlines about abuse in the Catholic Church turn into an unexpected personal story....


written and performed 

directed by Lora Mander
light and set design Vasilis Apostolatos
photography Karolina Joniec
produced by Ballydam Theatre in co-operation with Orange Tea Theatre
Read review of Helena Charlotte (Underground)

1949: Maggie, an Irish country girl, secretly gives birth to a baby boy and is forced to give him away.

2010: Her journalist daughter discovers a global story on abuse in the Catholic Church is also her family's narrative, and sets out to put flesh on the bones of a past hidden by church, state, media – and shame. A true story of atonement for the sins of others, softened by Irish humour.

Maggie is easing herself into old age. Then one day the letter comes. The letter from the baby who was taken from her 60 years earlier. They put pegs on her baby's head when he was ten. And they raped him, and beat him senseless, and made him watch in posh rooms while they did it to other boys. Some things you can't forgive....


23 November 20.30 
24 November 20.30 - Aftershow discussion with Jacqueline Nolan and Father Sjaak de Boer, Priest at                                    the Church of Our Saviour - International Roman Catholic church in The Hague


Koninklijke Schouwburg - Het Paradijs
Korte Voorhout 3
2511 CW The Hague
For directions, click here


Full Price€ 22.50
Uitpas€ 21.00
University Students*/CJP€ 10.00
LAMIDISC (only on the day of the performance)€ 3.00

* University and MBO students and Interns

Online STET Ticketshop
T 06 300 500 18

LAMIDISC txt or app 06 300 500 18 / 06 2043 1919 on the day
OOIEVAARSPAS - reserve your tickets at the Koninklijke Schouwburg


Since Maggie Went Away

Over a year ago, the writer performed a monologue in Amsterdam about her visit to the mother-and-baby home where her own mother gave birth to a son in 1949. Standing on the lawn in the cemetery of the home, she had realised there was something darker underneath the absence of gravestones. Two weeks before performance in June 2014, the story broke about the Tuam babies allegedly buried in a septic tank. It made international headlines and led to the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry into Irish mother-and-baby homes. The terms were announced at the beginning of this year.

The seed of Since Maggie Went Away: a newspaper article based on the writer's discovery that she has a secret older brother who was severely abused at a Catholic industrial school for boys. Right before its Dutch publication, Pope Benedict VI resigned. 

It's little and it's late, but it's welcome: The Irish government has just announced plans to introduce legislation that would give some 50,000 Irish adoptees, mainly in Ireland and the US, the right to their birth certs and medical history. Right before Since Maggie Went Away's debut.

Quotes from the Press, Edinburgh, August 2015:
Lilting with Irish humour...It's emotional, will give you goose pimples from head to toe and weigh on your soul. ****    Broadway Baby – Lydia Novak

Leavened by lyrical humour...a tragic tale emerges of systematic abuse that went unchallenged for decades. ***        The Scotsman - Paul Whitelaw

Deeply affecting story...Nolan deals sensitively with the idea of victimhood, leaving plenty of room for the play's message of hope and redemption.****          The Skinny – Cat Acheson

A series of interesting characters... this is a strong performance and I recommend it to anyone who has an interest in Ireland, family history or any of the themes involved. (RECOMMENDED)
Fringe Review – Josh Gardner

Ballydam Theatre has been set up to give an artistic voice to greater political issues, to tell the truth behind the facts. It is part of Jacqueline Nolan's acting and writing company, Ballydam Film and Media. 

Orange Tea Theatre is a leading English-language theatre company in Amsterdam. Founded in 2011 by Lora Mander and Sam Morris, it focuses on creating new writing.