photo by jess hardwick

Maria MacDonell is an actor and writer with forty years experience in the creative and performing arts – as a performer in mainstage theatre, small scale touring, film, and TV; as a screenwriter, journalist, researcher, TV presenter.

Represented by:
Elstree Studios, Shenley Road, Borehamwood WD6 1JG
Tel: 0208 953 7377 • 07462 113 364
Mob: 07918 166 706

actor  &  writer

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written and performed by Maria MacDonell with Leo MacNeill.

Estelle models for The Artist.

Despite decades of experience, she has never sat for a session like this. She can’t stand sitting any longer. How does this class change her life forever?

LIFE is an exciting new work from Maria MacDonell (Miss Lindsay's Secret) as Estelle and Leo MacNeill (Them is Brothers) as The Artist.




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Miss Lindsay’s Secret

written and performed by Maria MacDonell with Alan Finlayson and musician Georgina MacDonell Finlayson. 

Come in  •  Shut the door  •  Open the Box
What’s inside?

A museum curator finds hidden letters binding Glenesk to Canada’s Klondike goldrush. But should she tell their intimate secrets? A true tale of sewing and 1900’s sexting, revealed by The Curator, The Musician and The Man. Original live music and archives bring the past to the present, Scotland to the world.

“An outstanding and heartbreakingly beautiful play”

@JennyGilruth - Scottish Culture Minister 2021

One 5* & Four 4* reviews Fringe 2021

“powerful” - Broadway Baby
“A delight” - British Theatre Guide
“confidently sweeps us away” - Wee Review

Miss Lindsay’s Secret has received support from Creative Scotland.


Current Performances 2024

Duns Play Fest
Saturday 27th April 2024

Individual Show Ticket

Day Pass

Cove Burgh Hall
Friday 20th September
8pm (doors 7.15pm)
Tickets £12.50
(from beginning of September)

Brechin City Hall
Friday 11th & Saturday 12th October 2024
7.30pm (doors 7pm)
Tickets £12
Ticket Link


Miss Lindsay’s Secret is available to perform in spaces of all kinds.

Please contact me if you would like to book a performance. 

Miss Lindsay’s Secret has performed at Edinburgh Fringe 2021 and 2022. In Autumn 2022 the show toured to the following theatres and village halls in Scotland and England with 20 performances.

The Byre Theatre, St Andrews
Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh
The Lemon Tree, Aberdeen
Beacon Arts Centre, Greenock
Birnam Arts, Dunkeld
Heart of Hawick
Mull Theatre
Lyth Arts Centre
N.E.A.T (North East Arts Touring)
Findhorn Bay Arts Festival
Highlights Rural Touring Scheme
LiveLincs Rural Touring (Blaize)
Carlops Village Hall
Melrose Corn Exchange
Craignish Village Hall

Miss Lindsay’s Secret

Professional Reviews 

Broadway Baby -  Amy Macrae ★★★★
This story leaps off the pages of these long lost letters and out into the world for us to find. A tender look at the pursuit of success and a love that endured, even from afar."
Tweet 14.08.21 Loved Miss Lindsay’s Secret though I will never think of the word ‘pooch’ in the same way again.

Corrblimey Blog - Dominic Corr ★★★★
Maria MacDonell weaves her storytelling capabilities effortlessly.
Inquisitive, tender, and with just the right dash of nosey, our Curator stirs the dusted letters and infuses them with a sense of not only Minnie Lindsay but invests much of themselves into the story.

Edinburgh Guide - Angela Milton ★★★★
"A wee gem of a show. A delight to watch that leaves you with a warm glow for some time after."

The Wee Review - Matthew Keeley ★★★★
The audience is in capable hands and the play confidently sweeps us away with its intriguing tale.

British Theatre Guide - Graham Strachan ★★★★
A wee delight.

Audience Reviews

Outstanding and heartbreakingly beautiful. Go and See it.
Jenny Gilruth, Scottish Culture Minister tweet 17.08.21

A tour de force.

We loved loved loved it. Superb performance and writing. Beautiful music .

Flippin Fantastic. 


We loved this fascinating and true story. Excellent performers. 

Engaging witty and atmospheric. 

Amazing music.

A beautiful gentle and poignant tale of enduring love and sexting in the early 1900s. Captivating and beautifully melancholic with outstanding musical accompaniment. 

Absolutely fantastic.

Witty, poignant, funny and sad. Loved it.

Just stupendous.

Filled with music and joy and it leaves you feeling privileged to have eavesdropped on this woman and her absent and distant penpal/boyfriend.

A great central performance & a wonderful sense of place. The music is spirited & evocative. A Fringe highlight.

Loved the concept of a complete story being told from one side only. Thought the production was fabulous.
I was so moved I could hardly speak afterwards.

Beautifully crafted piece of theatre, all the more poignant because it's true.

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Maria MacDonell is a writer and performer with a career as an actor, writer, historical researcher, journalist, educator and mother of a large family. As an actor she has worked in small scale touring, mainstage theatres (Watford palace, Bristol Old Vic) film and TV.

Recent work includes Mary in The Motorist, a short film directed by Ciaran Lyons short-listed for Scottish Bafta 2020, winner Jury Prize Berlin British Shorts Festival 2021. Last Summer she wrote and performed in a seventeen minute film Miss Lindsay’s Love in Lockdown commissioned by Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival. As co-writer and performer she is developing with Jo Clifford The Not So Ugly Duckling, supported by Creative Scotland. Performance Storytelling includes Incredible Journey, A Many Splendoured Thing ; Dagba’s Forest Tales, for Puppet Animation Scotland; Cottongrass commissioned by Scottish International Storytelling Festival.

Miss Lindsay’s Secret, developed with support from Creative Scotland, was performed at Fringe 2021, gathering five four star reviews, positive audience responses and support from Scottish Culture minister Jenny Gilruth who saw it and tweeted - ‘outstanding and heartbreakingly beautiful’.

Georgina MacDonell Finlayson is an emerging composer and musician with a particular interest in multidisciplinary performance. In November 2019 Any Enemy performed her piece ‘To Glenesk’ at Sound Festival, later broadcast on Radio 3. During Lockdown she composed and performed online for Red Note Ensemble, Nevis Ensemble, Sound Festival. Last year she was selected mentee on the Scottish Chamber Orchestra composers’ scheme with composer Anna Clyne and writer Janis Mackay. She has been reselected this year for the continuing programme. She is sound designer for our film Miss Lindsay’s Love in Lockdown and also for The Not So Ugly Duckling, a live theatre piece being developed by Maria MacDonell and Jo Clifford with support from Creative Scotland. She is studying a classical violin masters degree at the Royal Northern College of Music.

Alan Finlayson is a film maker, puppeteer, writer and performer. He was a founder member of Scottish Mime Theatre and after many years in small scale touring developed his own puppet theatre shows, most notably The White Cat touring Scotland for Puppet Animation Scotland who also supported his Mechanical Turk. As a filmmaker Alan has screened work at the Edinburgh Film Festival and this summer made Miss Lindsay’s Love in Lockdown, providing voice, camera and editing.

Molly MacDonell Finlayson is a costume maker/textile artist with experience in opera, theatre, dance, film/tv and community arts including Scottish Opera, Magnetic Opera, Jabuti theatre, National Theatre of Scotland. She has been making costume for Scottish Opera for over five years. Molly is inspired by people and stories, colour and texture, music, words, walking in urban and remote spaces. She has her own company, MacFin, creating clothes sustainably.


Miss Lindsay's Love In Lockdown

In July 2020 the cast of Miss Lindsay's Secret made Miss Lindsay's Love in Lockdown commissioned by Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival. This seventeen minute film was shot entirely in Glenesk and The Glenesk Folk Museum, actual locations of the story. The film enhances themes of Miss Lindsay's Secret and has helped to keep it alive.

Available here: Miss Lindsay's Love In Lockdown


The Glenesk Folk Museum


Please donate to the remarkable Glenesk Folk Museum where Miss Lindsay’s story lies.


the not so ugly duckling
a play for grownups

Co-written and performed with Jo Clifford, a theatrical poem about life in all its chaotic glory.

Made in Scotland Showcase Fringe 2022

Supported by Creative Scotland

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The Proclaimers - The World That Was
Director: Ciaran Lyons
Production Company: Forest of Black

Extracts from The Motorist



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Dagba’s Forest Tales

A children’s show created and performed with Harriet Grindley, using live music, song and stunning images revealed within a Japanese Kamishibai storytelling box, brought to children and families in all kinds of settings on the back of a yellow bicycle.

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We Three Stories

Adult storytelling with Bob Mitchell and Harriet Grindley.

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contact & cv

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Elstree Studios, Shenley Road, Borehamwood WD6 1JG
Tel: 0208 953 7377 • 07462 113 364
Mob: 07918 166 706



scottish book trust author