Floral Pavilion to host final dates of Helen Forrester’s ‘By The Waters Of Liverpool’ Autumn tour

The first wave of cast members has been announced for the much anticipated By The Waters Of Liverpool Autumn 2023 UK Tour.

The inaugural tour closed just two weeks into a three-month nationwide tour due to the Covid pandemic.

By The Waters Of Liverpool Autumn 2023 UK Tour starts in Liverpool and finishes in New Brighton – both locations hugely important in Helen’s life story.

The new stage production is based on the book of the same name by the acclaimed author Helen Forrester. Her enigmatic and touching portrayal of her life story continues to win her fans worldwide through four best-selling volumes of autobiography Twopence To Cross The Mersey, Liverpool Miss, By The Waters of Liverpool, and Lime Street At Two.

The creative team have this week announced the first wave of cast members, which includes familiar faces who have told Helen’s story through the plays in recent years.

Helen’s Mother will be played by Lynn Francis, she will be joined by Daniel Taylor, Lynne Fitzgerald, Roy Carruthers, Samantha Alton, and Joe Owens.

The lead roles of Helen Forrester, John Forrester (Helen’s Father), and Harry O’Dwyer (Helen’s love interest) will be announced soon.

By The Waters Of Liverpool is a stunning period drama produced by the team who brought the smash-hit Twopence To Cross The Mersey to the stage to rave reviews for a UK tour in Autumn 2022.

Co-producer Bill Elms commented, “The production and tour of By The Waters Of Liverpool has been many years in the planning – and now we’re just five months away until we can continue to tell Helen’s life story on stage. Announcing the first cast members is a significant point in our countdown to opening.

“As custodians of Helen’s work, we feel honoured to be able to bring her words to life on stage. Our excellent cast – Lynn Francis, Daniel Taylor, Lynne Fitzgerald, Roy Carruthers, Samantha Alton, and Joe Owens – are hugely talented and will tell Helen’s story with heart, depth, and real emotion. We will be announcing our three lead cast members in the coming weeks.”

Writer and producer Rob Fennah added, “When By The Waters Of Liverpool was forced to close back in March 2020, we all thought it was a setback and we’d be back on the road within a few months. It never occurred to us that it would be over three years before the show would hit the stage again. As with everyone working in the arts at that time, it proved to be a very difficult period forcing many talented people to leave the industry for good. But in true Helen Forrester style, we managed to survive and now want audiences to know that By The Waters Of Liverpool is coming back – bigger and better than ever.”

After opening in at the Epstein Theatre, it will later conclude with six days at the Floral Pavilion in New Brighton in late October – just a few miles from where Helen Forrester was born in Wirral.

Between Liverpool and New Brighton, the production will also visit venues in Crewe, Coventry, Sale, Rhyl, Darlington, Lichfield, St Helens, Southport, Halifax, and Lytham.

The play also features sizeable chunks from Helen’s earlier book Liverpool Miss, together with flashbacks to Twopence To Cross The Mersey and elements of Lime Street At Two to give audiences a complete picture of her life.

Writer and producer Rob Fennah enjoyed a long friendship with Helen Forrester since adapting her first book Twopence To Cross The Mersey into a stage musical in 1994. It premiered at the Liverpool Empire Theatre and Helen travelled from her home in Edmonton, Canada, to see first-hand her story brought to life on stage. Rob later went on to develop Twopence into a straight play which has toured successfully since its first outing in 2015.

Since the author’s death in 2011, Rob has remained friends with Helen’s son Robert Bhatia. The productions are fully endorsed by the Helen Forrester Estate.

By The Waters Of Liverpool has sold more than a million books. It is set in the 1930s after Helen’s father went bankrupt during the Depression. Her family were forced to leave behind the nannies, servants and comfortable middle-class life in the South West of England.

The Forrester’s chose Liverpool to rebuild their shattered lives. They were in for a terrible shock. Taken out of school to look after her young siblings, Helen is sick of being treated as an unpaid slave and begins a bitter fight with her parents for the right to go out to work and make her own way in life. But by 1939 and with Britain on the verge of war Helen, now aged 20, has still never been kissed by a man. But things start looking up for her when she meets a tall strong seaman and falls in love.

Helen’s literary achievements were further celebrated in 2020 to mark her 100th Birthday when an iconic Blue Plaque was unveiled at the late author’s family home in Hoylake, a place which featured heavily in her work.

Helen Forrester’s son, Robert Bhatia, said, “The partnership between playwright Rob Fennah and my mother Helen, and her legacy, has been outstanding.”

Helen Forrester’s best-selling volumes of autobiography include Twopence To Cross The Mersey, Liverpool Miss, By The Waters Of Liverpool, and Lime Street At Two.

Images: Anthony Robling

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