The first UK national tour of Helen Forrester’s ‘Twopence To Cross The Mersey’ opens in four weeks in Wirral – a place which features heavily in Helen’s million-selling books and where the celebrated author spent some of her childhood.
Twopence To Cross The Mersey UK Premiere Tour 2022 opens this September running throughout the Autumn until mid-November. The hit stage drama has been revamped and updated as it gears up to visit 15 venues nationwide.
The tour opens on Tuesday 6 September at the New Brighton Floral Pavilion in Wirral, before visiting Rhyl, Stockport, Crewe, St Helens, Blackpool, Warrington, Darlington, Halifax, Croydon, Coventry, Lichfield, Bolton, and Southport. The tour closes in Liverpool.
The new touring production of Twopence To Cross The Mersey is produced by Rob Fennah and Lynn McDermott for Pulse Records Limited in association with Bill Elms and directed by Gareth Tudor Price.
The 9-strong cast will play more than 40 characters – they are Mark Moraghan, Daniel Taylor, Parry Glasspool, Jenny Murphy, Lynn Francis, Lynne Fitzgerald, Robert Hudson, Roy Carruthers, and Chloe McDonald.
Five of the cast members – Mark, Parry, Lynn, Roy and Chloe – have appeared in its sister show By The Waters Of Liverpool.
Millions of people around the world know Helen Forrester’s life story told through her best-selling volumes of autobiography, Twopence To Cross The Mersey, Liverpool Miss, By The Waters Of Liverpool, and Lime Street At Two.
Helen’s literary achievements were further celebrated in 2020 when an iconic Blue Plaque was unveiled at the late author’s family home in Hoylake on the Wirral, a place which featured heavily in her work.
The popular stage adaptation of Twopence To Cross The Mersey has been updated by writer Rob Fennah, who enjoyed a long friendship with Helen Forrester. Through their meeting of creative minds, Rob adapted Helen’s book into a stage musical in 1994 which was premiered at the Liverpool Empire Theatre. Helen travelled from her home in Edmonton, Canada, to see her story brought to life on stage.
Rob went on to develop Twopence into a straight stage play which premiered in Liverpool in 2015, before touring England’s North West in 2016. Helen died in Edmonton in 2011.
This year’s nationwide tour of Twopence To Cross The Mersey will be followed by a tour of By The Waters Of Liverpool in Spring 2023, the next instalment in Helen’s life story.
Playwright and producer Rob Fennah explained, “We first announced this UK Premiere Tour for the new stage adaptation back in January – now the scripts have been handed to the cast and creative teams and we’re just four weeks away from opening. As soon as we go into rehearsals, we’ll all be counting down the days until we can get back on stage and bring Helen’s wonderful words to life once more.
“Like so many other touring productions, lockdown closed By The Waters Of Liverpool shortly after opening. It was a huge blow to the team and audiences alike. So we have taken the opportunity to update the stage production of Twopence and take the play on its first national UK Tour. Helen has fans worldwide, and this way we can take Helen’s story a little closer to them. It’s going to be a very special experience for everyone involved – we’re all custodians of her incredibly honest writing that everyone can relate to, especially given today’s difficult economic climate.”
Mark Moraghan will play John Forrester (Helen’s father). Mark previously played ‘Father’ in the 2007 and 2009 adaptations of Twopence To Cross The Mersey, and reprised the role in the follow-up stage drama of Helen’s book By The Waters Of Liverpool in 2018 and 2020. Mark is best known for his roles in Holby City, Coronation Street and Brookside.
Daniel Taylor plays Mr Ferris and is also part of the Ensemble. He is an award-winning actor, producer and director, and was most recently seen on stage in Blood Brothers. Daniel appeared at Liverpool Theatre Festival 2020 in his show The Very Best Of Tommy Cooper, and returned the following year in Something About George – The George Harrison Story.
Parry Glasspool will play Helen’s brother Alan. He is best known for playing Harry Thompson in Hollyoaks. He was born and raised in the Midlands, before moving to London to study for his BA Hons in Acting for Stage and Media at the University of West London. After five years, Parry made a dramatic exit from Hollyoaks in 2020 when he was murdered.
After an open call for auditions to find Helen, Jenny Murphy was awarded the role. Jenny wowed the panel and now joins the touring production. She trained at Mount view Academy of Theatre Arts. Theatre credits include Oliver Twist, Pride & Prejudice, Merry Wives of Windsor, The Jungle Book, Cilla – The Musical, Julius Caesar, The Little Match Girl, and The Decameron.
Lynn Francis plays Helen’s mother Celia Forrester, Roy Carruthers (Ensemble), and Chloe McDonald (Ensemble) – and all return having appeared in previous stage productions of Helen Forrester books presented by Pulse Records Limited.
Lynne Fitzgerald plays Mrs Foster and (Ensemble), and Robert Hudson (Ensemble) complete the cast. Both are appearing for the first time in a Helen Forrester adaptation.
This year’s nationwide tour of Twopence To Cross The Mersey will be followed by a tour of By The Waters Of Liverpool in Spring 2023.
Image: (L-R) Mark Moraghan, Jenny Murphy, Parry Glasspool, and Daniel Taylor