Rona Munro's The Maiden Stone is a play about a group of women struggling to get by in the harsh world of north-east Scotland in the early nineteenth century. It was first performed at Hampstead Theatre, London, on 21 April 1995 (press night on 27 April), having already won the inaugural Peggy Ramsay Award.
Down-on-her luck and out-of-work actress Harriet and her family are wandering the roads of Scotland looking for food, shelter and the opportunity to perform. But they are not the only ones travelling the highways and byways – there’s traveller and storyteller Bidie and her family, always looking for a break; and the dangerously beguiling stranger Nick, whose presence on the road might turn out to be more of a curse than a blessing.
In a note accompanying the published text, Munro writes that it is a play about her own birthplace. 'The language of the piece is the native dialect as I remember it and is in no sense historical but a living language. For the Hampstead production we reproduced this with minimal compromise and I don’t think the rhythm or the integrity of the play would survive any attempt at translation.'
The Hampstead Theatre premiere was directed by Matthew Lloyd and designed by Robin Don (set) and Anne Sinclair (costumes). It was performed by Frances Tomelty, Carol Ann Crawford, Shirley Henderson, Sarah Howe, Paul Higgins, Alexander Morton and Anthony Colbert.