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Glory on Earth

Glory on Earth

By Linda McLean
Imprint: Nick Hern Books
Paperback : 9781848426757, 88 pages, May 2017


Tuesday, 19 August, 1561, 9 a. m. Through the fog a ship arrives in Leith docks, and Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, steps ashore. She is eighteen and on her young shoulders rest the hopes of the Catholic establishment of Europe.

The nation that receives her has just outlawed her church and its practices. Its leader is the radical cleric and protestant reformer, John Knox. Both believe themselves ordained by God. Both believe themselves beloved by their people. Both were exiled and returned home… but only one can make Scotland their own.

Linda McLean's Glory on Earth premiered at the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh in May 2017, in a production directed by Lyceum Artistic Director David Greig.


"A clever and satisfying piece of theatre… asks big questions but frames them within a fascinatingly local context… the roots of Scotland's religious divide open up a debate with universal resonance. " —The Stage

"Audacious… McLean’s language is elevated, rich and crisp. " —Telegraph

"A story crying out to be told… a call to arms for young women everywhere, to be fearless, regret nothing and to dance for dear life itself. " —Herald

"Thrilling. .. a spirited portrait of Mary, Queen of Scots and her girl gang. " —Guardian

"Witty and playful. " —The Times

"Compelling… McLean's big structural innovation is to place at the centre of the action a female chorus who play all the other roles, from courtiers to reformers to Privy Councillors. More importantly, however, they also act as the externalisation of Mary's own thoughts, and the queen's dialogue flows in and out of theirs symbiotically. It's very effective, and reinforces this as a woman's "unsilencing" of a previously male story. " —WhatsOnStage