By Nancy Netherwood

Part of 37 Plays, a national playwriting project to create a series of 37 brand new plays that reflect the world we live in today.


January 1983. Trainee singer Russell has abruptly left his prestigious conservatoire in London following a strange incident, and returned to his home - and his volatile mother Maud - in the North-East of England.

Considered high-strung and ‘sensitive,’ Russell is prone to periods of inexplicable illness, but the symptoms have never been so strange and severe - rooms go cold, lights flicker, and Russell goes into trances, knowing things he can’t possibly know. When doctors, priests and therapists fail to offer a solution, Maud calls in a specialist: Father Miller, a young priest who specialises in ‘psychodivinity’ and believed Russell is suffering from a spiritual sickness that manifests as a form of demonic possession.

Through interviews, exercises and ‘cleansing rituals,’ the cause of Russell’s illness and the story of his departure from the conservatoire and intense friendship with a fellow student are gradually revealed - as is the hypocrisy of Miller’s practice and the messy, complex love between Maud and Russell that might be the only thing that can keep Russell from losing touch with his humanity in the depths of his exorcism.

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Playwright age category: 18+


Pippa Hill, RSC New Work Team

"Brilliantly written play about a young man with supernatural abilities, haunted by an otherworldly, musical voice. Terrifying, atmospheric and original."

About the playwright

Nancy is a playwright and screenwriter based in South East London. Her plays have been produced at the Old Red Lion Theatre and North Wall Arts Centre, with shorts at the Royal Court and Southwark Playhouse. Nancy was a writer in residence at the North Wall for their Catalyst Festival in 2019, and was part of Hampstead Theatre Inspire 2022 and the London Library Emerging Writers Programme 2020-21. Her work uses elements of folklore, fantasy and horror to explore queer narratives, mental health, and loneliness and connection.

In partnership with Northern Stage