Nun The Wiser

Written and performed by Triona Adams

Directed by Owen Lewis

Triona Adams in Nun The Wiser

The true story of a showbiz agent who swapped premieres for prayers, and
spent a year in a convent trying to be holy. Sister Triona reveals what really
goes on underneath the habit.

When she was 26, Triona Adams gave up a glitzy career as a theatrical agent in order become a nun in an
enclosed Benedictine convent. She spent a year there. This show recounts the bittersweet, comic story of
a modern, emancipated woman trying to become a nun. It turned out she was not a natural.

Living with 13 strong-minded women, ages ranging from 54 to 100, Triona plunged into a way of life
designed over a century ago and discovered, the hard way, how modern women’s values, intellect and
spirituality can both collide and harmonise with a more ancient way of female life – and how
extraordinary relationships can be formed as a result. On a diet of Spam fritters and Dad’s Army, cut off
from the rest of the world, her story also has its funny side.

With reality TV probing into even our police cells and hospital operating theatres, Nun The Wiser offers a
unique glimpse behind one of the very last of society’s closed doors. With convents closing and vocations
at an all-time low, does the 21st century convent have a place in our future? And what of the women who
have dedicated their lives to the Christian faith as nuns?

BBC Radio 4 commissioned a play about Triona’s time as a nun – The Lemon Squeezer – which aired on
March 3 2009 as The Afternoon Play. She has since developed this theatrical version of the her story for
solo performance and premiered it at the 2009 Edinburgh fringe festival. Thanks to its success there with critics and audiences alike, the show is now heading out on tour.

Director Owen Lewis’ Edinburgh credits include Stewart Lee’s Late But Live shows: Johnson & Boswell
and Elizabeth & Raleigh (Traverse 2007, Underbelly 2009 respectively); and Loaded with Scott Capurro
(Pleasance). He directed the recent national tour of Grumpy Old Women 2 (UK tour 2009); and other
credits include Pete and Dud: Come Again (West End & UK tour); and The Lady Of Burma (Riverside
Studios and tour).

What the papers say…

‘Her comic timing is never off and by the end, her rapt audience has had “the nun experience” and knows what the closeted life is like. The characters are a real mix from a bombastic Mother Superior who sounds like Donald Sinden, through a mix of ageing cripples and obsessives to complete eccentrics. It makes for fine theatre.‘**** British Theatre Guide (full review here)

‘Adams delivers this well-written, carefully judged monologue with considerable poise. Her depiction of convent life is well observed and often funny, its community of elderly eccentrics is fondly brought to life in her descriptions. Nun the Wiser, as the punning title suggests, could so easily descend into parody, making fun of these odd women and their outmoded way of life, but what Adams does is much more interesting, touching gently on some complex ideas and emotions. Though she gradually came to realise that priory life wasn’t for her, she speaks of it with fondness and a hint of regret.’ **** The Scotsman (full review here)

Show details

Marketing samples

Nun The Wiser
Running time 70 minutes, no interval
Technical requirements Flexible to all shapes and sizes of performance space.Basic theatrical lighting and CD playback are only technical requirements, although where these are not available an adapted version of the show can still work!
Company size 1 on stage1
on the road
Age guidance 14+
Genre One-woman play (autobiographical)
Show site
Creatives Triona Adams (Writer, Performer)Owen Lewis (Director)

Leaflet FrontNun The Wiser flyer sample frontLeaflet Reverse

Nun The Wiser flyer sample reverse