Written by
Valerie Goodwin


Index of

On Tour

Magdalen Whitewash

This play was performed recently

Read a review here - See Photos here

The Magdalen laundries were set up in collaboration between Church and State in Ireland and were still going until the late 1990's. They were attached to convents and girls were signed in by their families. Once in there, they could not leave until their families came to get them out- which in some cases meant a lifetime of washing and virtual imprisonment.
What was their crime? Pregnancy, in most cases; but some girls were transferred there from orphanages, some were deemed to be a threat, or at risk of falling prey to lust.
The play focuses on eight of these 'Maggies', their stories, and their attempts to leave the laundry. In their dealings with the few men they encounter within the steamy walls- priests and delivery men, and in their contact with their relatives, we see them through the eyes of the 'free'.
Robbed of their lives because of events beyond their control, they were branded as 'sinners' and locked away to 'wash away the stain'. How do they cope with the gruelling toil, and the stigma , the abandonment by their families and the sense of the passing years with no hope of reprieve? And how did they cope with the agony of losing their babies?
This play is fictional only in the sense that the girls depicted are not based on actual women known to the author- however, any similarity to real persons living or dead is regrettable, but all too likely.

The Magdalen Whitewash was one of Valerie Goodwin's biggest successes having been performed in Dublin and Michigan, USA

'We are very eager to attempt this fascinating piece'
Todd Swanboro, Director, Clintondale High School

'I found the work captivating and intense'
Larry Robinson, North Carolina

'The performance came over very well indeed. The emotion and enthusiasm of your cast...... I'm still having nightmares about Father O'Connell- ugh! What a character you have invented!'
David Waters of www.playsandmusicals.co.uk


You can buy the script for The Magdalen Whitewash from http://www.playsandmusicals.co.uk/