She’s no Vera Drake.
For a start, Vera Drake was made up.
Idir Mná Theatre Company undertook the development of an ambitious new play Our Lady of Last Resort: The Story of Mamie Cadden; a disgraced Irish midwife turned backstreet abortionist, and one of the last women sentenced to death in Ireland at a time when a new republic was still establishing itself on the world stage.
Born Mary Anne Cadden to Irish parents in 1891 in Pennsylvania, USA; what could have been a life of opportunity ended in ruin back in Ireland; three times convicted, and declared criminally insane, Mamie Cadden died at Dundrum Central Mental Hospital in 1959. Against the changing landscape of the 30s, 40s and 50s, Our Lady of Last Resort unpacks some of the decisions that led to the spectacular downfall of a singular woman.
Following a two week development process with the support of Civic Theatre and Arts Council of Ireland, we presented our work in progress to an audience of 150 people: