Mary, It began with a lass


Mary, It began with a lass…” is a fast paced journey through the life and loves of Mary Queen of Scots, telling the story of her love for Scotland and for the men around her.
It looks at the lives of Mary and Elizabeth I, two powerful women struggling to retain control of their nations and their love.

Must a woman choose between love and power?
Battery Theatre take a contemporary look at Mary’s story through the complex power struggles around her, power struggles that remain to this day…

This was the second production from Battery and after our initial run in Dunbar we toured the play to other sites associated with Mary’s life, to sell-out audiences and great reviews.

Written by Suzanne Lofthus

Performed by Andrea McKenzie, John Spilsbury, Kirsten Maguire and Philip Kingscott Directed by Andy Corelli

Music by Karen Dietz and Gracie Brill

Produced by Kirsten Maguire and Philip Kingscot


Audience Reviews

“Power and Persuasion, Politics combined with tense and lively imagined performances to give the audience a fresh telling of Mary Queen of Scots days as a young Queen. She is manipulated by many on both sides of the border to keep England and Scotland safe. The Battery actors and their scriptwriter gave the audience 80 minutes of lively performances. Excellent.”

“Incredibly accomplished performance of ‘Mary, It Began With A Lass… ‘ flawless. & funny too. Brilliant use of the space. Great cast!
A story of big events but I’ll remember the personal story.”

“Superb performances from all the cast – you are all fantastic! Feedback from my teenager – ‘it was really good. I wish this had been on when I was revising my Nat 5 History’. Congratulations to everyone – this is a brilliant show.”


Writers Note (from Suzanne Lofthus)

I’ve always been fascinated with Mary, Queen of Scots even from childhood. Like a lot of Scots, we are brought up with a romanticised view of our historical characters – we love the idea of a hero or heroine but often ignore the reality of their lives. Mary’s life was fraught with challenges and tensions and it seems she made some very unwise choices, being caught in a power struggle for not only the Scottish throne but the English throne as well. Elizabeth and Mary, both very powerful women – one ruled with her head and chose not to marry, the other ruled with her heart and suffered under the hands of dominant men around her, all desperate for power. Even today, powerful women still have to struggle to find acceptance and are often unfairly judged for not conforming to public expectations. Mary wanted power and love. Sadly, both destroyed her in the end.

When I saw Homecoming at the Battery Theatre last year, I took a wander round the ruins of Dunbar Castle where Mary spent time with Bothwell. It was amazing to think she actually lived there and would have looked out onto the dramatic sea around her. This short tour also takes in two other significant places in her history – Linlithgow where she was born and Edinburgh where so much happened in her short reign of Scotland. I’ve tried to think in each place what she would have felt about being there and have adapted the opening section to be different for each venue. It’s been nice to revisit this play after writing it in 2007 and to see it performed in such significant locations, all connected to Mary.

My hope is that you enjoy this fast paced story of her life and that you will be inspired enough to find out more about her. She will always have a place in Scotland’s heart – and mine.