Botticelli’s Angels by Gemma Mills McGrath
Some things can never be compensated, though moments of grace can ease us through
It’s the aftermath of the Church’s apology for abuse of children in its care. Frank, now middle-aged, fled a Belfast school as a teenager and has since lived in London with just Johnny, his younger brother and budding magician, for company. When Frank responds to a call from the Diocese to support and compensate victims, he meets Ursula, a newly trained outreach worker. But their encounter turns out to be a powerful game-changer in which all involved get much more than they could ever have imagined.
Botticelli’s Angels explores the characters’ jagged switchback journeys as they are forced to renegotiate their view of themselves, tussle with the seductive grip of denial, experience the pain and relief of truth and finally accept that help sometimes comes from the most unlikely places.
One thing I’ve learnt from all this – if you don’t grieve on time, you grieve forever.
Botticelli’s Angels was part of Write Now 5, and was directed by Matthew Parker.
Gemma is a graduate of the London College of Communication MA Screenwriting course and her TV, film and radio projects have shortlisted in US/UK competitions and commission rounds. Botticelli’s Angels is her first play though it started life as a short film, before Gemma adapted it for the stage and it featured in a 2011 Scratch at the Jack when it called The Sisters of Mercy & Redemption (Finalist Steyning Theatre Trails, shortlist Kenneth Branagh Award 2012).
In 2014, Botticelli’s Angels won at the US Moondance Festival (Best Foreign Stage Play) and she was also shortlisted for Kitson Management’s New Dramatists Club. In 2015, the play reached the last round of the BBC Scriptroom 8 competition. Gemma is a published poet (Flarestack, Magma) and is currently working on a new collection and on her next play Involved (T.S Elliot Commission 2014).