A new stage play about the life of acclaimed author Helen Forrester heads to Rhyl this Autumn as part of a new tour.
Twopence to Cross the Mersey comes to Rhyl’s Pavilion Theatre from Wednesday 12 October to Saturday 15 October for six performances, including two matinees. Tickets are on sale now.
The seven-venue tour across England’s North West and North Wales follows the hugely successful premiere of the new stage play version of Helen Forrester’s Twopence to Cross the Mersey, which wowed audiences at four Merseyside theatres last Spring.
And now due to popular demand, the play returns with a new and extended tour for Autumn 2016.
The play opens in September with a three-week run in Liverpool before heading to Rhyl. It then travels to Preston, Southport, Warrington, Stockport and St Helens throughout October and November.
Loved by millions, see Helen’s dramatic, moving and heart-warming tale come to life as she and her family are forced to survive in the slums amongst the streetwise working class.
In its earlier format, the musical version of the show had four hugely successful runs at Liverpool’s Empire Theatre, firstly in 2004 and then returning in 2005, 2007 and 2009 under the helm of Rob Fennah and production company Pulse Records Ltd. Rob worked closely with Helen on the original stage production, which she did get to see for herself.
The new version is staged by Pulse Records Ltd in collaboration with producer and stage writer Rob Fennah and producer Bill Elms. They are joined by director Bob Eaton.
Rob Fennah said: “I got to know Helen very well during the last 20 years of her life and, during the writing of the original script, she would often send faxes and letters of encouragement together with all sorts of additional information that didn’t appear in her books. Helen and I often talked about a touring production of Twopence to Cross the Mersey so I am really pleased to finally see it happen.
“I had always visualised Twopence to Cross the Mersey as a straight play and was thrilled when audience and reviewers alike gave the new adaptation a big thumbs up. We’re excited and delighted to take the play on the road so greater numbers of Helen’s readers can see her most famous book come to life as a stage play.
“We cannot wait to bring the show to Rhyl’s Pavilion Theatre in October with a very strong cast, who will do justice to Helen’s story.”
The new stage adaptation is fully endorsed by the Helen Forrester estate – and even has the blessing of her son who saw the play for himself last Spring.
Rob continued: “Helen’s son Robert Bhatia and his family flew in from Canada especially to see the new stage play when it was premiered last year. Robert told me he could feel his mother’s presence on the stage and was so captivated by the performance that he was moved to tears. With Helen not being with us anymore, it is really important to know the play has Robert’s blessing.”
Helen Forrester’s son Robert Bhatia added: “The play is great. I saw it last year and Maria Lovelady was utterly convincing as my mother.”
Helen Forrester’s Twopence to Cross the Mersey tells the true story of a young girl and her formerly wealthy family as they are suddenly thrown into poverty during the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Leaving behind the nannies, servants and comfortable middle-class life in the South West of England, they uproot their shattered lives and choose Liverpool as the place to start again to rebuild their dreams and fortune. Unbeknown to them however, a terrible shock awaits them.
The play features an 8-strong ensemble cast. The line-up features Emma Dears (Judy & Liza, Les Miserables) as Mother; Christopher Jordan (Moving On, Coronation Street) as Father; Maria Lovelady as Helen; and with Tom Cawte (Witless, The Lone Pine Club) as Alan, they make up the Forrester family.
Eithne Browne (Brookside, Brick Up The Mersey Tunnel); Jake Abraham (Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Game of Thrones); Roy Carruthers (Night Collar, Tales from Haunted Liverpool); and Phil Hearne (Good Golly Miss Molly, Blood Brothers) all take on lead roles, as well as supplementary characters throughout.
The Salvation Army is the charity partner of Twopence to Cross the Mersey. All monies raised will help to fund the work of the church and charity, supporting some of the most vulnerable people in the community.
Two Pence to Cross the Mersey will be at the Rhyl Pavilion from the 12th – 15th October with the following performances:
Wednesday 12 October at 7.30pm
Thursday 13 October at 2.30pm – MATINEE
Thursday 13 October at 7.30pm
Friday 14 October at 7.30pm
Saturday 15 October at 2.30pm – MATINEE
Saturday 15 October at 7.30pm
Wednesday all seats £15
Tickets range in price from £18 to £24
School tickets £11