Harvey Morton sat down with Damian Barr and Suba Das, uncovering the heart-wrenching and triumphant tale of their new National Theatre of Scotland production, ‘Maggie & Me’ for Queerly’s Stage and Screen Podcast and Harvey’s Brunch Club. Set in Brighton, 2008, the production brings to life Damian Barr’s poignant memoir, chronicling his tumultuous childhood in 1980s Lanarkshire and the impact of the indomitable figure, Maggie Thatcher.

Maggie & Me is touring until 15th June 2024. Photo courtesy of National Theatre of Scotland and Mihaela Bodlovic.

The production encapsulates the visceral experience of revisiting a troubled past, where fear and joy intertwine in the face of adversity. From the haunting furnaces of the Ravenscraig Steelworks to the sanctuary of Carfin Grotto, ‘Maggie & Me’ weaves a tapestry of trauma, triumph, coming of age, and coming out. As Damian grapples with reliving his past, the play raises the pivotal question: Can he survive his past again, find his voice, and finally tell his story?

With an ensemble cast led by Gary Lamont (Boiling Point, Outlander), Damian Barr, James Ley, and director Suba Das breathe life into this bold new production, taking audiences on an explosive quest through Damian’s childhood. The narrative is a poignant reminder that before one can move forward, they must first go back.

Maggie & Me is touring until 15th June 2024. Photo courtesy of National Theatre of Scotland and Mihaela Bodlovic.

In the candid interview, Damian Barr shares, “When I started writing the book, I was working as a journalist at the Times. My feelings about Maggie Thatcher were more complicated than I initially thought. As a gay kid in a very sectarian culture, I felt afraid and hated. However, my nostalgic attachment and pity for her faded as I realised the impact of her policies on my childhood.”

Director Suba Das sheds light on adapting the memoir for the stage, emphasising the celebration of queer resilience and triumph over adversity. Suba Das said, “Damian’s story is a celebration of queer resilience, triumphing over astronomical odds, and doing so with joy and care. The show takes us from harrowing moments of survival to uplifting song and dance numbers, capturing the essence of fashioning safe spaces and finding slivers of representation as queer individuals.”

Listen to the full interview on Queerly’s Stage and Screen Podcast below:

Maggie & Me is touring until 15th June 2024, tickets are available from the National Theatre of Scotland website here.