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The Memory of Water

By: Shelagh Stephenson

Promotional Image for The Memory of Water showing a woman looking upset and slamming down a phone with three people watching her in the background

The Memory of Water

By: Shelagh Stephenson

Directed by: Muriel Romanes

Three sisters meet on the eve of their mother’s funeral. Together they rummage through their collective memories, dredging up old stories, events and conflicts. Each has evolved their own way of dealing (or not) with the past but as emotion, disputed memory and alcohol each takes its toll, they slowly dissolve into a chaos of hilarity and grief.

The Memory of Water was Shelagh Stephenson’s first play, which opened at Hampstead Theatre, London in 1996. In 2000, The Memory of Water was winner of the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Comedy. A huge hit on the West End, Stellar Quines’ co-production was the Scottish premiere.

"An acute and funny writer, Stephenson carves out a welcome territory that is distinctive, contemporary and theatrical"

by The Independent

"Combines a flair for witty dialogue and a relish for the dynamics of theatre"

by The Guardian

"Bitter, sharp humour and rich female energy"

by The Scotsman


  • Jennifer Black


  • Simon Coury


  • Molly Innes


  • Mary Keegan


  • Crawford Logan


  • Alexandra Mathie


  • Georgia Watson


Creative Team

  • Shelagh Stephenson


  • Muriel Romanes


  • Isla Shaw


  • Natasha Chivers

    Lighting Designer

  • Hilary Brooks

    Composer, Sound Designer

About The Show

During the Scotland-wide tour of The Memory of Water, Stellar Quines invited audiences to share memories with their fellow audience members.  In certain venues, Outreach Workshops were run with groups of women, exploring memory, how we recall and how the play addresses the notion of memory, particularly amongst the three sisters, Mary, Catherine and Teresa.  Audience memories were recorded on luggage labels and posted into a giant steamer trunk that accompanied the tour.

Tour History