We are very happy to report that the recent performance of Double Trouble at Oran Mor was a MASSIVE success, raising an astonishing £1880 for Claire’s fund.
Since Cure Claire’s Cancer was set up, there have been many generous acts of bravery, determination and creativity in the name of fundraising by Claire’s family and friends, as well as by many who have never met Claire before. But possibly the story behind Double Trouble is the most incredible and heartwarming so far.
The previous existence of Claire’s mother-in-law, Doreen, as a successful playwright and theatrical producer had been the stuff of McArdle family legend. Long-retired by the time Claire came into her life, perhaps the most tangible evidence of Doreen’s past talents had been through her three children: Liam, Gill, and Colin, all of whom are very musically and artistically talented in their own ways. Claire’s husband, Liam, a very successful television and film director, seems to have been particularly influenced by his mother’s talents for writing and production. However, aside from the fruition of her maternal genes, Doreen’s former playwright self had apparently become confined to history, destined to remain nothing more than a highly cherished and celebrated memory.
Doreen, originally from Maryhill, didn’t even start her writing career until she was in her forties, but went on to have huge success in both writing and production, setting up her own production company in the late nineties and becoming the recipient of awards and accolades a-plenty. Many years down the line and Doreen has encountered more than her fair share of struggles, although always tackled with her characteristic brand of grit and dry wit. She lost her own husband, also called Liam, to skin cancer nearly 20 years ago and has had to face life without the man she loved and the father of her children. And very sadly, when Liam became really ill and subsequently died, Doreen stopped writing to care and grieve for him. However, through Claire’s own awful diagnosis, it seems that something powerful has stirred in Doreen and she has once again shown herself to be a force to be reckoned with – a strong and talented woman and an inspiration to us all.
While most of us hibernated and recovered from Christmas, Doreen spent the first few weeks and months of 2019 working tirelessly and mostly single-handedly to produce and publicise two of her most successful plays, to bring them back to the stage for a special one-off performance in order to raise money for Claire. Seeking out support from her talented network of Scottish arts contacts, including the one and only Alasdair Gray, who designed the poster artwork, and calling on the wonderful Andy Arnold, creative director of the Tron Theatre to direct, Doreen co-ordinated every aspect of the production right down to the nitty-gritty of print runs of flyers, publicity, costume, venue; the list goes on. This would be a mammoth task for any team of workers with a workable budget, and yet Doreen ploughed on with it alone and unfunded. By the end of February, well over a hundred people gathered in Oran Mor in the West End of Glasgow to see two other very talented women, Libby McArthur and Kate Donnelly bring Doreen’s characters to life once again in a truly emotional rollercoaster of a performance, raising a huge amount of money to go towards Claire’s ongoing cancer therapy.
But money isn’t what is important here, we all know that. What Doreen has given to Claire can’t be quantified. As Claire herself has said, if there is an upside to cancer, this is it. It is tragic that cancer was responsible for restricting Doreen’s writing career in the first place, but so very poignant that this despicable disease has meant that a new and modern audience, including her children and grandchildren, have been able to see first-hand exactly how talented, determined and special their grandmother is.
Thank you to Libby McArthur and Kate Donnelly, to Andy Arnold and Alasdair Gray.
Thanks also to set designer and stage manager, Wendy Cairns and to Bronco, Creon and the staff at Oran Mor.
Thanks to Gill and Colin for all your help in organisation and on the night.
Thank you to Camay and family for the very generous donation of flowers.
Thank you once again, journalists Paul English and Ian Marland.
And a huge thank you to everyone who bought tickets.
Most of all, thank you Doreen.