headshots by andy catlin


photo by Alan Finlayson

Maria MacDonell is a writer and performer with forty years’ experience in the creative and performing arts – as an actor in mainstage theatre, small scale touring, film, and TV; as a screenwriter, journalist, researcher, TV presenter; as a director of an arts charity; as a tutor of drama and creative arts for students with learning disabilities.

actor  &  writer

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Miss Lindsay’s Secret

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

A museum curator finds a hidden box of letters, from a young Scotsman gone to the Klondike Goldrush. He writes to his childhood sweetheart, a seamstress, left behind in their glen in the early 1900s. A universal story of friendship, love and separation evocatively told with music, drama and the original letters. But do the dead have a voice? Does Miss Lindsay have a choice in having her story told? Should secrets remain secret?

Edinburgh Fringe 2021
Miss Lindsay's Secret was performed at Scottish Storytelling Centre during Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2021, receiving five four star reviews and positive audience responses. 

Miss Lindsay’s Secret has been supported by Development Funding from Creative Scotland.

“Outstanding and heartbreakingly beautiful”

Jenny Gilruth - Scottish Minister for Culture

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 Not So Ugly Duckling

Currently in development with playwright and performer Jo Clifford, a theatrical poem about life in all its chaotic joyous glory.

The Not So Ugly Duckling has been supported by Development Funding from Creative Scotland.


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Extract from
The Not So Ugly Duckling

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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acting agent & showreel
Stiven Christie Management
+44 (0) 131 228 4040


scottish book trust author