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Helen Forrester's By The Waters Of Liverpool To Go On Major 17-Date UK Tour In 'Last Chance To See'

Helen Forrester's By The Waters Of Liverpool To Go On A Major 17-Date UK Tour In The 'Last Chance To See Helen Forrester's Life Story On Stage' From September 2023

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. The Forrester’s chose Liverpool to rebuild their shattered lives (Credit: Anthony Robling/Production images are from the By The Waters Of Liverpool Tour 2020/Supplied By Publicist).
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. The Forrester’s chose Liverpool to rebuild their shattered lives (Credit: Anthony Robling/Production images are from the By The Waters Of Liverpool Tour 2020/Supplied By Publicist).
  • This will be the last chance to see Helen Forrester’s life story on stage.

  • Featuring a superb cast including Coronation Street’s Tom Roberts and Emmerdale’s Joe Gill, Emma Mulligan, Lynn Francis, Daniel Taylor, Lynne Fitzgerald, Joe Owens, Samantha Alton, and Roy Carruthers.

  • By The Waters Of Liverpool's Autumn 2023 UK Tour will open in Liverpool on the 4th of September followed by dates in Port Sunlight, Crewe, Coventry, Sale, Rhyl, Darlington, Lichfield, St Helens, Southport, Halifax, Lytham, and New Brighton.

By The Waters Of Liverpool is set for performance Autumn 2023 UK Tour opens in four weeks. It tells the captivating life story of best-selling author Helen Forrester – and this will be the only chance fans will have to experience the new production live on stage.


The team behind By The Waters Of Liverpool and the earlier stage productions of Twopence To Cross The Mersey – which premiered in Liverpool almost 30 years ago – have announced the new tour will be the last one telling the life story of Helen’s fascinating life.


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


The tour will open in Liverpool City Centre on Monday 4 September 2023 and finish in New Brighton late October – with both locations being hugely important in Helen’s life story.


The By The Waters Of Liverpool tour will open with four performances at The Auditorium at M&S Bank Arena, later concluding with six dates at the Floral Pavilion in New Brighton in late October – just a few miles from where Helen Forrester was born in the Liverpool City Region's Borough of Wirral. Both venues are located on the banks of the River Mersey which was instrumental throughout Helen’s books.

(Credit: Anthony Robling/Production images are from the By The Waters Of Liverpool Tour 2020/Supplied By Publicist).
(Credit: Anthony Robling/Production images are from the By The Waters Of Liverpool Tour 2020/Supplied By Publicist).

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.


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


By The Waters Of Liverpool 2023 Cast

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. The Forrester’s chose Liverpool to rebuild their shattered lives (Credit: Supplied By Publicist).
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. The Forrester’s chose Liverpool to rebuild their shattered lives (Credit: Supplied By Publicist).

The team behind the production recently announced the full tour cast. 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 Emma Mulligan in the lead role of Helen Forrester.


The nine-strong cast play more than 50 characters, and the line-up also features Lynn Francis, Daniel Taylor, Lynne Fitzgerald, Joe Owens, Samantha Alton, and Roy Carruthers.

Tom Roberts has countless television credits including bad boy Scott Emberton in Coronation Street (Credit: Supplied By Publicist).
Tom Roberts has countless television credits including bad boy Scott Emberton in Coronation Street (Credit: Supplied By Publicist).

Tom Roberts has countless television credits including bad boy Scott Emberton in Coronation Street; DS Flanagan in Emmerdale; five seasons as Tony in 2point4 Children; EastEnders; Casualty; Holby City; Waterloo Road; Hustle; Brookside; Hollyoaks; Boon; and The Bill. Film credits include The Bradford Riots; Oh Mary, This London; The Casebook Of Eddie Brewer; Doreen: The Movie; and Just 14. Having trained at Mountview Drama School, Tom’s theatre credits include Blood Brothers, Fiddler On The Roof, Kes, Death Of A Salesman, The Three Musketeers, Misconceptions, Bouncers, Changing Rooms, Intimate Exchanges, Frankenstein, April In Paris, Educating Rita, The Holly And The Ivy, On Golden Pond, and The Verdict. His extensive radio work includes drama for BBC Radio 4, as well as several appearances on The Archers.


Joe Gill is best known for playing the role of Finn Barton in ITV’s Emmerdale.He has also appeared in Brassic, Casualty, In The Flesh, The Sparticle Mystery, River City, In With The Flynns, and short film The Rest Is Flowers. Joe recently wrapped on his first leading feature film role in Treading Water, due for release later this year. On stage Joe recently appeared in Into Battle at Greenwich Theatre to rave reviews. Theatre credits also include The Full Monty, Butterfly House, Tiger, Romeo & Juliet, and The Comedy of Errors. He has also worked on a web series BookStreamz – narrating and performing a wide variety of stories from well-known and undiscovered authors, streamed live to the homes of audiences.

Emmerdale’s Joe Gill will play Harry O’Dwyer, Helen’s love interest (Credit: Supplied By Publicist).
Emmerdale’s Joe Gill will play Harry O’Dwyer, Helen’s love interest (Credit: Supplied By Publicist).

Emma Mulligan is a 2021 acting graduate from East 15 Acting School. She is originally from Northern Ireland. Most recently she played the role of Marie in short film Undead Dilemma. Emma played numerous roles at drama school, including Dunyasha in The Cherry Orchard, Inez in No Exit, and Mattie-Fae in August: Osage County.


Lynn Francis is well-known on the Liverpool theatre scene. Her theatre credits include The Royal, Ladies Day, A Nightmare On Lime Street, and The Salon. Screen roles include Reds & Blues, The Ballad Of Dixie & Kenny, and Charlie Noades RIP. She also worked alongside Ian Hart and Dougray Scott in film The Lie Is Dead.


Daniel Taylor is an award-winning actor, producer, and theatre director. He has recently toured the UK in the lead role of Something About George – The George Harrison Story. Theatre credits also include Blood Brothers, The Very Best Of Tommy Cooper, Lennon: Through A Glass Onion, Down The Dock Road, and A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream. Television credits include Loose Women, The Bill, and Miranda’s Games With Showbiz Names.


Lynne Fitzgerald is best known for her comedy acting role. She is also an acclaimed writer and director. Theatre credits include Desperate Scousewives, 2Georgeous4U, Two, The Importance Of Being Earnest, Catfish Therapy, The Salon, Night Collar, and Last Train To Auschwitz.


Joe Owens has most recently been seen in the new and reimagined production of Masquerade at Liverpool’s Epstein Theatre. His training includes the BA Acting course and Foundation Certificate at LIPA, as well numerous years spent with the Young Everyman and Playhouse (YEP) company. Credits include Dogs directed by Nathan Powell; Love’s Labour’s Lost directed by Conor Wray; and Posh directed by Francesca Goodridge.


Samantha Alton is best known for her one-woman performance as Kitty in Kitty, Queen of The Washhouse, at Shakespeare North Playhouse. She has been performing professional for almost a decade now after graduating with first class honours in 2013.

Roy Carruthers is a familiar face on stages in Liverpool. Theatre credits include Ladies Night, Funny Money, Night Collar, The Price, and Lennon’s Banjo. Television credits include Good Cop, and Longford. Film credits Sparkle. Roy has also appeared on Radio 4’s Pick Of The Week programme.


History Of By The Water Of Liverpool

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. The Forrester’s chose Liverpool to rebuild their shattered lives (Credit: Anthony Robling/Production images are from the By The Waters Of Liverpool Tour 2020/Supplied By Publicist).
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. The Forrester’s chose Liverpool to rebuild their shattered lives (Credit: Anthony Robling/Production images are from the By The Waters Of Liverpool Tour 2020/Supplied By Publicist).

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.


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.


By The Waters Of Liverpool Autumn 2023 UK Tour is highly anticipated. Its inaugural tour was scheduled to run for 12 weeks across 17 venues in Spring 2020. It was abandoned after visiting only three theatres due to the Covid-19 pandemic and rescheduled twice when the pandemic failed to abate.


The team have now made the decision that this will be the ‘final chapter’ of Helen’s story on stage.


The original production of Twopence To Cross The Mersey was brought to the stage in 1994 when it was premiered at the Liverpool Empire Theatre. This is the final opportunity for fans of Helen’s million-selling books to experience her story first-hand.


Writer and producer, Rob Fennah, explained: 'We’ve had a fantastic run with Twopence To Cross The Mersey over the years with hundreds of thousands of theatregoers flocking to see it. This new Helen Forrester play, 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.'


Rob added: 'By The Waters Of Liverpool also features sizeable chunks from Helen’s earlier book Liverpool Miss, together with flashbacks to Twopence To Cross The Mersey. I’ve even weaved in 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.'


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.


By The Waters Of Liverpool Autumn 2023 UK Tour finally ventures out across the UK after its premiere run was cut short in March 2020. After some years in the planning, the production was just 3 theatres into a 17-venue tour when the country was forced into a national lockdown.


Writer and producer, Rob Fennah, enjoyed a long friendship with Helen Forrester since adapting her first book Twopence To Cross The Mersey in 1994. Helen travelled from her home in Edmonton, Canada, to see first-hand her story brought to life on stage.


Prior to author’s death in 2011, Rob and Helen often discussed the possibility of another play to conclude her life story. By The Waters Of Liverpool is the result of many conversations and numerous letters between the author and playwright and, as such, the show is packed with provenance.


Rob has remained friends with Helen’s son, Robert Bhatia, and this production is fully endorsed by the Helen Forrester Estate.


Robert Bhatia, said: 'The partnership between playwright Rob Fennah and my mother Helen, and her legacy, has been outstanding.'


About Helen Forrester

Playwright Rob Fennah and Author Helen Forrester. When leather met tweed, 1992 (Credit: Supplied).
Playwright Rob Fennah and Author Helen Forrester. When leather met tweed, 1992 (Credit: Supplied).

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.


Helen Forrester was born as June Huband on the 6th of June 1919 in Hoylake, Cheshire (now in Merseyside and the Liverpool City Region), the eldest of seven children of inept, socialite, middle-class parents who lived on credit. When her father was made bankrupt during the Great Depression, the family was thrown into poverty.


Evicted from their comfortable home in an English market town and with nothing more than the clothes they stood up in, the large family took the train to Liverpool where they hoped to rebuild their lives. While Forrester's father searched unsuccessfully for work, the family were forced to live together in a single room.


As the eldest child, the 12-year-old Helen was kept away from school to look after her six younger brothers and sisters. For the next few years the family were forced to rely on meagre hand-outs from the parish, and the kindness of strangers. At the age of 14 Forrester rebelled against her life of drudgery and her parents agreed to allow her to attend evening classes to make up for her missed years of education.


Throughout her teenage years, Forrester worked for a charitable organisation in the City of Liverpool and Bootle in Liverpool's Borough of Sefton, which provided background for her novels Liverpool Daisy, A Cuppa Tea and an Aspirin, and Three Women of Liverpool. After surviving the Blitzing of Liverpool and losing two consecutive fiancés to the Second World War she met and, in 1950, married Dr. Avadh Bhatia; her life with him in India provided background for Thursday's Child and The Moneylenders of Shahpur.


The couple travelled widely, eventually settling in Edmonton, Canada, in 1955, where Dr. Bhatia became the director of the Theoretical Physics Institute at the University of Alberta. He was a pioneer in electronic transport theory and the study of diffraction of light by ultrasonic waves.


The best-selling memoir of her childhood was Twopence to Cross the Mersey was later turned into a successful musical. Living in Alberta provided background for Forrester's novels The Latchkey Kid and The Lemon Tree. Yes Mama, which takes place mostly in late 19th and early 20th Century Liverpool, also includes a section about Alberta.


Helen Forrester sadly died on the 24th of November 2011 in Edmonton, Alberta in Canada at the age of of 92.


By The Waters Of Liverpool Tour Dates

  • LIVERPOOL CITY CENTRE – THE AUDITORIUM AT M&S BANK ARENA on Monday the 4th of September – Wednesday the 6th of September 2023. Available at: www.mandsbankarena.com

  • PORT SUNLIGHT – GLADSTONE THEATRE on Tuesday the 12th of September – Thursday the 14th of September 2023. Available at: www.gladstonetheatre.org.uk

  • CREWE – LYCEUM on Monday the 18th of September – Tuesday the 19th of September 2023. Available at: www.crewelyceum.co.uk

  • COVENTRY – ALBANY THEATRE on Wednesday the 20th of September – Thursday the 21st of September 2023. Available at: www.albanytheatre.co.uk

  • SALE – WATERSIDE on Friday the 22nd of September – Saturday the 23rd of September 2023. Available at: www.watersidearts.org

  • RHYL – PAVILION on Tuesday the 26th of September – Wednesday the 27th of September 2023. Available at: www.rhylpavilion.co.uk

  • DARLINGTON – HIPPODROME on Friday the 29th of September – Saturday the 30th of September 2023. Available at: www.darlingtonhippodrome.co.uk

  • LICHFIELD – GARRICK on Tuesday the 3rd of October – Wednesday the 4th of October 2023. Available at: www.lichfieldgarrick.com

  • ST HELENS – THEATRE ROYAL on Monday the 9th of October – Wednesday the 11th of October 2023. Available at: www.sthelenstheatreroyal.com

  • SOUTHPORT – THE ATKINSON on Thursday the 12th of October – Saturday the 14th of October 2023. Available at: www.theatkinson.co.uk

  • HALIFAX – VICTORIA THEATRE on Monday the 16th of October – Tuesday the 17th of October 2023. Available at: www.victoriatheatre.co.uk

  • LYTHAM – LOWTHER PAVILION on Thursday 19th of October – Saturday 21st of October 2023. Available at www.lowtherpavilion.co.uk

  • NEW BRIGHTON – FLORAL PAVILION on Tuesday 24th of October – Sunday the 29th of October 2023. Available at www.floralpavilion.com

The play is Written by Rob Fennah, Directed by Gareth Tudor Price, Produced by Pulse Stage Productions and Bill Elms, and Fully endorsed by the Helen Forrester Estate.

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