Sell-out show ‘Doorways in Drumorty’ to be performed at the Lonach Hall

A book by a North-east novelist, which was once banned in her home town, is set to tour Scotland - calling in at the Lonach Hall, at Strathdon - following several sell-out performances in and around Aberdeen.

Strichen-born Lorna Moon’s short stories ‘Doorways in Drumorty’ have been skilfully woven together by playwright Mike Gibb into a play with a cast of three performing as 12 diverse characters that are easily recognisable today.

The result is a piece of theatre which is funny, poignant and very entertaining and will be toured by RedRag Theatre Company, in association with Aberdeen Performing Arts.

Writer Lorna Moon was an extraordinary woman who moved from rural Scotland to America in 1907 to become a top screenwriter, working closely with Cecil B De Mille, who went on to produce, direct and star in many of Hollywood’s Oscar-winning classics.

While her collection of short stories is an amusing depiction of rural life in the 1920s, at the time Strichen residents were shocked and outraged to find themselves portrayed as thinly-disguised characters in ‘Doorways in Drumorty’.

The account of their narrow-minded and hypocritical ways was promptly banned in the town, but Strichen has moved on and recently a plaque was unveiled in honour of their famous daughter, who died 80 years ago.

Although Lorna Moon never returned to Scotland in her lifetime, her ashes were scattered on Strichen’s Mormond Hill.

“There are also similarities to be found between Doorways in Drumorty and the much wider-known Scottish classic, Gibbon’s Sunset Song,” pointed out RedRag Theatre’s Michelle Bruce.

“They both explore life in a rural North-east community in the early 20th century and were both criticised by members of the local community when they recognised themselves in the story!

“Interestingly Doorways in Drumorty was actually published seven years before Sunset Song but why so few people have heard of Lorna Moon and her writing is a bit of a mystery,” she added.

“Like many gifted writers of her time, social and economic factors possibly conspired against her popularity. Nevertheless, the quality and sharpness of her writing was never in doubt.”

RedRag Theatre Company is the Aberdeen-based theatre group which staged and toured the Piper Alpha commemorative play ‘Lest We Forget’ in 2009.

Tickets for Doorways in Drumorty at Lonach Hall, on Tuesday, September 27, cost £8 and £6 (concessions) and are available online at www.neatshows.org.uk. To reserve tickets, call (019756) 51779.