‘A Bright Light in the Darkness’ by Therase Neve - BLUE WHALE THEATRE is a play for children and families, telling the story of Catherine McAuley - Founder of the Sisters of Mercy.

‘A Bright Light in the Darkness' was written and produced by Therase Neve at special request for - St Charles Catholic Primary School in Ryde, Sydney.

This beautiful play captures the heart and spirit of Catherine McAuley as we chronicle her journey through life from the childhood influences of her father, to becoming an accomplished adult in her own right, achieving great things.

Catherine devoted her life to helping the poor and throughout her life (1778 - 1841) she dramatically improved the lives of thousands of young girls, woman and their families.

Catherine famously built a 'house of Mercy' in Baggot Street, Dublin Ireland, which became a home for orphans and women, with a school to help educate the poor. The house of mercy still stands in Dublin today in memory of her work.

Catherine tended to the sick in the hospitals and in their homes throughout her life and famously would walk the streets of Dublin helping and caring to those who were less fortunate.

Catherine McAuley paved the way for others to follow in her example and set foundations for Sisters of Mercy assemblies all over the world. The Sisters of Mercy to this day continue mercy work in Catherine McAuleys footsteps.

The story of this amazing woman is brought to life for you on stage, in Blue Whale Theatre’s unique and heartfelt production ‘A Bright Light in the Darkness’.

Version 1 - stages 2 and 3 suitable for Primary and Secondary School students.

An hour long production in 3 sections. 15 minutes workshop time.

With the aid of an actor/facilitator, the children are invited to ask the actor playing Catherine McAuley questions through a theatrical device known as 'hot seating'. The hot seating sessions take place after each three sections of the play.

Show duration with questions: 1 hour 15 minutes (flexible).

"The play A Bright Light In The Darkness was well written and very informative. I learned about some of the people in Catherine McAuley's life and how they had an impact on the person she became. I think it was neat how the actors in the play changed characters from time to time, it gave a great range of people for us to include in our assessment! It gave us a better understanding of how important Catherine McAuley was in the Mercy story." Aliyah, Year 8, Mercedes College Perth

Version 2 -  Stage 1 students - A 45 minute production in 3 sections.

As before the children are invited to ask Catherine questions about how she felt at certain moments in her life as seen in the play.

This special version of Catherines story has been adapted from the original production to make it accessible to younger children.

Show duration with questions: 45 - 50 minutes (flexible).

After sell out tours to mercy schools in VIC, NSW, WA QLD 2016 - 2019 'A Bright Light in the Darkness'  - The Catherine McAuley Story will again tour interstate for 2021/ 2022. We will be touring Primary and Secondary schools/ community venues  throughout NSW, QLD and VIC. For tour dates, costs and availability please contact: info@bluewhaletheatre.com or call 0401 418 323

Right: Hot seating session - Jade Alex playing Catherines McAuley answering questions from Year 7 students at Monte Sant Angelo Mercy College, Sydney.

Blue Whale Theatre actors with some of the children from St Charles Catholic Primary School Ryde, Sydney. Actors left to right; Joanne Coleman, Jade Alex and Roger Adam Smith. 'A Bright Light in the Darkness'  2015.

Left: Actors Jade Alex and  Joanne Coleman  with the children at St Charles Catholic Primary, Ryde, Sydney in a hot seating workshop for 'A Bright Light in the Darkness' .

The play is available in formats suitable for Secondary School Audiences Year 7/8, all Primary School years and we can also tour to community venues for families.

Blue Whale Theatre actors left to right; Therase Neve, playing Sarah and Jade Alex playing Catherine McAuley.  'A Bright Light in the Darkness' Monte Sant Angelo Mercy College May 2016.

"The play 'A Bright Light in the Darkness’ is an exceptional dramatisation. It powerfully sends an authentic message to influence students and staff to be inspired to action. Staff commented as a group that it was the best ‘incursion’ they have ever witnessed in the school setting … and I agree wholeheartedly!”

Philip Ledlin Principal, Our Lady of Dolours Catholic Primary School, Chatswood, Sydney

"Each performer captured the characters superbly showing depth and emotional connection for us in the audience. The elements of death were portrayed in a respectful and appropriate level for the children.. got the children interested and motivated to help others, and learn more about Catherine's life." Luke Ryan, Year 5 teacher, St Michaels Primary Baulkham Hills, Sydney.

"Thank you for the production…it was awesome and very well received by both staff and Yr 7 students! Again, please pass on my thanks to Jade and Roger the other actors, they were fabulous!"

Cam Tu-Hines, Year 7 teacher, Aranmore Catholic College, Leederville, Perth WA.

“The Bright Light in the Darkness” was beautifully scaffolded for the students. The explanations before each scene really ensured the students knew what was happening so they could just enjoy Catherine’s story. The question times were brilliantly handled and the actors were very knowledgeable and informative. It was fantastic to see the students involved and asking thoughtful questions to gain a better understanding of our founder.  All in all it was very impressive and I would be happy to have the chance to see them again.” Lia Shaw, English Teacher Catholic College Bendigo VIC. June 2017


To book email info@bluewhaletheatre.com or call 0401 418 323

The Play is available

for schools in two versions: