Wirral dates for ‘By the Waters of Liverpool’ tour

The creative team behind the new Helen Forrester play By The Waters Of Liverpool has released the first cast images during rehearsals and in costume.

By The Waters Of Liverpool Autumn 2023 UK Tour will run for eight weeks visiting 13 venues across the country.

The tour opens in two weeks on Monday 4 September 2023 at The Auditorium at M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool before travelling around the country.

The nine-strong cast will play more than 50 characters between them during the production.

By The Waters Of Liverpool tells the captivating life story of best-selling author Helen Forrester. this will be the only chance fans will have to experience the new production live on stage as the team recently announced that this play and the earlier production, Twopence To Cross The Mersey, will no longer tour.

After opening The Auditorium at M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool in early September, the tour will conclude in late October at the Floral Pavilion in New Brighton – just a few miles from where Helen Forrester was born in Wirral. Both venues are located on the banks of the River Mersey which was instrumental throughout Helen’s books.

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

The cast is now in rehearsals in Liverpool and took time out for a costume photoshoot – showcasing how the new line-up will look in the play.

Coronation Street’s Tom Roberts will play John Forrester, Helen’s father; Emmerdale’s Joe Gill will play Harry O’Dwyer, Helen’s love interest; with newcomer Emma Mulligan in the lead role of Helen Forrester. This is Emma’s first professional acting role.

They will be joined by Lynn Francis, Daniel Taylor, Lynne Fitzgerald, Joe Owens, Samantha Alton, and Roy Carruthers.

By The Waters Of Liverpool is a stunning period drama produced by the team who first brought the smash-hit Twopence To Cross The Mersey to the stage, which premiered in Liverpool almost 30 years ago.

The creative team are producers Rob Fennah and Lynn McDermott for Pulse Stage Productions and Bill Elms. The show is directed by Gareth Tudor Price and written by Rob Fennah.

Co-producer Bill Elms explained, “Rehearsals are now underway and the cast and crew are already coming together as a family – it’s inspiring to see everyone really just click and support each other. Once those costumes go on, the characters really come alive and it’s magical. We are very lucky to be custodians of Helen Forrester’s fascinating life story – which so many people today can resonate with given the challenging times in society.

“Since Twopence To Cross The Mersey premiered almost 30 years ago, hundreds of thousands of theatregoers have seen the show and really taken Helen’s story to their hearts. Helen and her family even travelled from Canada to see it for themselves. By The Waters Of Liverpool is an adaptation of her third autobiography and the final chapter of Helen’s life in Liverpool during the Great Depression.

“The play also features sizeable chunks from Helen’s earlier book Liverpool Miss, together with flashbacks to Twopence To Cross The Mersey – as well as a storyline from Helen’s fourth autobiography Lime Street At Two. That way, those unfamiliar with Helen’s work will still get a complete picture of her life in one show.”

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 Forrester family home in Hoylake on the Wirral, a place which featured heavily in her work.

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.

Wirral dates:

PORT SUNLIGHT – GLADSTONE THEATRE: Tuesday 12 September – Thursday 14 September 2023 

NEW BRIGHTON – FLORAL PAVILION: Tuesday 24 October – Sunday 29 October 2023 

Image credit: Dave Jones

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