Maggie and Me

Full-Length Play, Dramatic Comedy  /  3w, 4m

“Don’t you worry. I’ll always love you. Love doesn’t run out. It’s not like the gas meter. I’ll find extra love.”

  • Cast Size
    Cast Size
    3w, 4m
  • Duration
    120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre
    Adaptations (Literature)
  • Audience
    Target Audience
    Adult, Senior, Teen (Age 14 - 18)



Brighton, 2008: Damian Barr celebrates getting a deal to write a memoir about his chaotic childhood in 1980s Lanarkshire. But as soon as he opens the door to his troubled past, everybody comes rushing through, including his younger self and the woman who forever changes his family, community and country: Maggie Thatcher.

Soon, revisiting his past turns into reliving it – the fear and the joy. From the furnaces of the Ravenscraig Steelworks to the sanctuary of Carfin Grotto, there’s trauma and triumph, coming of age and coming out. Can Damian survive his past again, find his voice and finally tell his story?

Maggie & Me was produced by the National Theatre of Scotland, and was first performed at the Tron Theatre in Glasgow on 7 May 2024.

MAGGIE THATCHER – (Played by one actor) We follow her from the Brighton bombing to her departure from No 10. She appears in different iconic outfits but always with her iconic hair. She is certain about everything until Wee/DB show the real impact of her policies. Is she more human than the monster we imagine?
WEE DB – (Played by one actor) We see him at eight, twelve and sixteen. We see him grow up. We meet him at eight in Superman pyjamas. He’s then twelve in school uniform with a scruffy side-parting. Finally, he’s sixteen with specs and curtains in the early 1990s. Everyone wants ‘the best’ for him but what does he want? Can he survive his childhood?
DB – (Played by one actor) thirty-two-year-old writer living in Brighton and married to Mike. We meet him trying to write his memoir… He ran away from his past but must now relive it in order to write Maggie & Me. He must face his worst fears. Can he survive it again? What forgotten joys will he find on the way? What is the cost of reliving?
MUM – ‘She is five foot nothing, buzzes like a bee in a jar.’ She loves her ‘three gifts’. After divorce, she nearly dies of a brain haemorrhage but fights her way back then leaves violent Logan only to meet the alcoholic Dodger. She is always trying to do her best – trying. She is frail but strong. She is pure love but not always a good carer (of herself or others). She always has a tea towel over her shoulder.
DAD – ‘He is six foot everything. My dad has superpowers.’ A steel worker who loses his family, then his job and his identity. He hardly ever speaks but we feel his love very strongly. He is felt most often as a loving absence.
LOGAN – (He is not embodied but we witness his violence and hear him.) ‘According to all the arguments I’ve overheard he’s the man my mum leaves my dad for… not as tall as my dad but not as short as my mum, he fills every room so we can hardly breathe.’ Father of DB’s half-brother. He shows tenderness to his pigeons and Mum but terrorises and abuses Wee DB.
TINIE – Damian’s valiant and adored tomboyish wee sister.
THE WEE MAN – DB’s beloved wee half-brother, Logan’s only son.
HEATHER – ‘I don’t know how we become boyfriend and girlfriend but that’s what everybody starts saying about us so that’s what we become. She’s the only girl in our year without a fringe and she never covers her pink cheeks with blusher or anything. Hazel eyes unbothered by mascara hold your gaze. She’s no slag. She doesn’t care what anybody thinks or says about her. Heather is a good person and good for me, I think’. Smart, strong-willed, soul-mate in the past and present.
MARK – ‘Mark Ellison changes my life just before the summer holiday at the end of Primary Five. He joins Keir Hardie Memorial Primary School at the end of term, his Jason Donovan haircut neat and new when we’re all ready for a shear. My report card states “Damian has met his match this school year…” He’s the fastest runner in the whole school. His parents are divorced, like mine. And he’s funny, like me.’ Seemingly self-assured sporty super twink. Can Mark ever accept himself?
DANNY – Damian’s rough and tumble first pal and first crush; leader of a gang that bullies him. Kind to his pet canaries. Soft heart in a tough shell.
MISS CAMPBELL – A blend of all DB’s fave inspiring teachers. Her hair appears to be two styles and colours at once – plum-purple spikes on top and a sleek black bob at the sides. The colours can’t be natural and it’s cool, way too cool for a teacher. ‘We stare as one and she smiles at every single pupil.’ DB’s teachers are mostly good (when the law allows them). They are embodied.

We also hear about, or meet briefly, other characters including:
GRANNY MAC – DB’s mum’s mum, fiercely Catholic and full of classic Scottish sayings.
DODGER – feckless, but not evil, alcoholic boyfriend who replaces Logan.
CLARE – DB’s very posh and entirely lovely literary agent.
MIKE – DB’s husband in Brighton AKA Mr Hart.
DIANA ATHILL – famous memoirist and editor.

  • Time Period 1980s
  • Setting
  • Features Period Costumes
  • Duration 120 minutes (2 hours)


“Funny, moving and powerful in equal measure, it’s an expertly told story and it deserves to be a hit.” — WhatsOnStage

“This National Theatre of Scotland production achieves the great trick of good theatre - it makes someone's life so intense and compelling that the question of ‘contemporary relevance’ becomes itself an irrelevant question.” — Broadway Baby

“The play is nostalgic, funny and heart-warming with tear-jerking poignant moments.” — Broadway World UK

“Fearless and unflinching.” — The Herald

Maggie & Me is simply excellent theatre which deserves to play to full houses. It’s a hard, but uplifting story of overcoming and becoming, wrapped in agile direction, and winning performances.” — The Quinntessential Review

“Challenging, exasperating, but also highly significant.” — The Scotsman

“Heart wrenching, thought provoking.” — Theatre Scotland

“Unapologetically honest, nostalgic and occasionally brutal.” — A Young(ish) Perspective

Licensing & Materials

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James Ley

James Ley is a playwright and screenwriter living in Glasgow. His plays include Wilf (Traverse Theatre), Ode to Joy (Stories Untold, Summerhall), Love Song to Lavender Menace (Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh, Summerhall, SoHo Playhouse, New York), Emma and Gill (Catherine ...

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Damian Barr

Damian Barr is an award-winning writer. His memoir, Maggie & Me, won Stonewall Writer of the Year and Sunday Times Memoir of the Year. It is a Scottish classic. His debut novel, You Will Be Safe Here, was a Radio 4 Book at Bedtime and Book of the Year in the Observer, Gua ...
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