Tragedy of Half-hanged MacNaghten returns- with a new Mary Ann

THE Playhouse’s triumphant play based on the famed local tale of John (Half-hanged) MacNaghten will return to the stage due to popular demand, with a new Mary Ann Knox!

From the pen of local playwright Stan McGowan, ‘The Wood of The Crows’ deals with the tragic events that led to the death of the young Prehen heiress Mary Ann Knox by the hand of her much older lover John MacNaghten in the year 1761.

Born into a wealthy family, the well-educated MacNaghten had gambled away his family fortune while still a young man and had even embezzled £800 to feed his addiction when he was Collector of Taxes in Coleraine.

The M.P. for Donegal, Andrew Knox, took pity on him and invited him to stay at his house at Prehen, near Derry. While there, he was attracted to Knox’s daughter, the young heiress Mary Anne and, unknown to her father, arranged a very dubious marriage ceremony. The story found infamy when McNaughten’s attempt to abduct Mary Ann for her Dublin-bound carriage ended in tragedy.

Was the fatal shot that killed her and accident, or an act of deliberate intent in order to seek revenge from her overprotective father, whose opposition to their marriage would lead to this most tragic drama?

The play, set against the background of Georgian Ascendancy Londonderry, will now be returning to the stage at The Millennium Forum on Thursday 17 and Friday 18 May.

An exciting new addition has also been made to the original cast, with accomplished local actress Carlene Melaugh will replace actress Sinead Sharkey as Mary Ann Knox.

Connor Barr will return to play the infamous John MacNaghten, along will the rest of the sterling cast, Helen McLaughlin (Honoria Knox), Bill Waters (Andrew Knox), Marie Dunne (Angel Knox), Eaman Craig (George Knox), and Gregory Peck (as James Simpson the butler).

‘The Wood of The Crows’ will play at The Millennium Forum on Thursday 17 and Friday 18 May at 8pm. Tickets are £15/ £12.50. To book contact The Millennium Forum Box Office on (028)71264455 or visit