Maggie May is a brand new play written by Frances Poet, highlighting the struggles of living with dementia. It follows an ordinary Leeds family learning to cope with a diagnosis.
The co-production between Leeds Playhouse, Curve, Leicester and Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch was originally part of Leeds Playhouse’s award-winning Every Third Minute Festival but it’s on tour again.
Eithne Browne plays Maggie. Eithne is a stalwart of the Royal Court Theatre but it probably still best known as Chrissy Rogers in Brookside. She is joined on stage by her fellow Brookside alumni, John McArdle, who played Billy Corkhill.
The five-strong Maggie May cast also includes York actor Mark Holgate; Leeds actor Shireen Farkhoy and Maxine Finch.
Playwright Frances Poet said: “It’s always exciting to see your writing in front of an audience but Maggie May feels particularly special since it was written with such a strong audience focus. At every stage of development, from its very conception, this play has been designed to welcome the broadest possible audience to share Maggie’s story.
“Perhaps because she was inspired by the extraordinary people living with dementia I met through the Playhouse, the irrepressible and hilarious Maggie feels less like a character and more like a friend, showing us all what’s possible. I can’t wait to sit amongst people living with dementia, their supporters and anybody who loves theatre about real people so we can laugh and cry together as Maggie finds a way to live well with her diagnosis.”
All performances of Maggie May at Leeds Playhouse and Curve will be dementia-friendly. This means the show will include additional staff, detailed pre-show information and a quiet space. Each venue will also host a free interactive installation – The Listening Booth – which is designed to amplify the experiences of people living with dementia.
Nicky Taylor, theatre and dementia research associate at Leeds Playhouse and advisor on Maggie May, said: “People with dementia have generously shared their stories and helped develop the script over the past three years, which the brilliant writer, Frances Poet, has completely embraced. As a result, we can present a play which feels truthful, funny and firmly rooted in the everyday experiences of many ordinary people who are learning to adapt to life with dementia.”
For more information on the production, visit the Leeds Playhouse website.