The Monstrous Heart

World Premiere | A Traverse Theatre Company and Stephen Joseph Theatre co-production By Oliver Emanuel
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Why would anyone want to get closer to nature? What’s that about? Nature is a f*****r. It’s cruel. Vindictive. Nature will give you cancer, burn your house down then send a flood to wash away your family.

Mag lives in a rustic cabin in the Canadian wilds, far from neighbours and further from her past. It’s an unremarkable life, save for the enormous bear carcass on the kitchen table.

But when her estranged daughter Beth turns up on the doorstep having been freshly released from prison, the past becomes terrifyingly present - and the bear isn’t the only thing with a dangerous bite.

Beth came to ask Mag a question. But is she prepared for the answer? Can they really settle their scores? And can Mag keep an innocent life from being destroyed in the crossfire?

As a blizzard closes in and dangerous words are traded, Mag accepts a challenge from a most unexpected source and lights a fuse that looks set to blow both women sky high.

Written by Oliver Emanuel (The 306 Trilogy) and directed by the Traverse’s Gareth Nicholls fresh from his recent Festival smash-hits Crocodile Fever and Ulster American, The Monstrous Heart is thrilling, chilling, witty and surreal, examining afresh the eternal question of whether we ever really change how we’re made.

Supported by Creative Scotland and the City of Edinburgh Council.

Image: Mihaela Bodlovic

On tour

Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough: Thu 3 – Sat 19 Oct


  • WriterOliver Emanuel
  • DirectorGareth Nicholls (he/him)
  • Lighting DesignerTigger Johnson
  • Set & Costume DesignerCécile Trémolières
  • Composer & Sound DesignerOğuz Kaplangi
  • Casting DirectorSarah Hughes
  • Assistant Director (Supported by a Federation of Scottish Theatre Assistant Director Bursary with funding from Creative Scotland)Jordan Blackwood
  • Charlene Boyd


  • Christine Entwisle


  • Tanya Moodie


Behind the Scenes

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