UK Premiere Tour to visit 14 venues nationwide during Autumn 2022
The brand new stage production of Helen Forrester’s Twopence To Cross The Mersey is embarking on its first major UK national tour this Autumn.
Twopence To Cross The Mersey UK Premiere Tour 2022 will open on Tuesday 6 September at the New Brighton Floral Pavilion in Wirral and then go on to tour a further 13 venues nationwide through to mid-November.
The tour will visit venues in Rhyl, Stockport, Crewe, St Helens, Blackpool, Warrington, Darlington, Halifax, Croydon, Coventry, Bolton, and Southport, before closing 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. Full cast to be announced.
About the show – Twopence To Cross The Mersey is a stunning period drama set in the early 1930s in the midst of the Great Depression.
In 1931, Helen’s spendthrift father was declared bankrupt forcing the family to leave behind the nannies, servants, and beautiful middle-class home in the gentler South West of England. With nothing more than the clothes they stood up in, the family of nine took the train to Liverpool where they hoped to rebuild their shattered lives. It came as a terrible shock to find the thriving, wealthy port Helen’s father remembered as a boy, the place his own father made his fortune, had long since gone.
While 12-year-old Helen’s inept parents searched unsuccessfully to find work, she was taken out of school to look after her six younger siblings and the full burden of keeping house fell on Helen’s young shoulders. Having never had to manage a family budget in their previous life, the Forresters found themselves relying on meagre hand-outs from the local parish, charity organisations, and the kindness of strangers.
At the age of 14, Helen had finally had enough of her miserable existence and so began a bitter fight with her mother and father to attend evening school in an effort to educate herself and make her own way in the world. But Helen’s parents had no intention of releasing their unpaid slave. They had other plans for their selfish daughter.
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 celebrated in 2020 when an iconic Blue Plaque was unveiled at the late author’s family home in Hoylake, a place which featured heavily in her work.
Playwright and producer Rob Fennah explained: “In 2020 we embarked on a UK Tour of By The Waters Of Liverpool – sister show to Twopence – which was brilliantly received, but we were forced to cancel after just two weeks due to the pandemic. We tried to reschedule but Covid restrictions kept getting the better of us. It was during this period I decided to rework the Twopence To Cross The Mersey script, include some new scenes and give it a fresh look.
“Helen’s army of loyal readers will be interested to know that, when she was still with us, Helen and I shared many letters and lengthy telephone conversations about her life story. There were some real gems in amongst those conversations which I have now written into the new scenes – fascinating memories of the late author that didn’t find their way into her books.”
Helen Forrester’s son Robert Bhatia said: “The partnership between playwright Rob Fennah and my mother Helen, and her legacy, has been outstanding. I saw the play during its last tour and the portrayal of my mother was utterly convincing.”
Co-producer Bill Elms added: “Twopence To Cross The Mersey is one of those very special pieces of theatre which is just a real pleasure and absolute privilege to be part of. Helen Forrester’s books are gritty but so heartwarming at the same time. Her life story really captures audiences and we are incredibly excited to take the play on its very first national UK tour. Theatregoers who may have seen earlier versions can look forward to the new production and set, and we’ll be announcing the cast very soon. For fans who have never experienced the play, this is a chance to really feel Helen’s words brought to life from the page to the stage.”
Co-producer Lynn McDermott concluded: “This new adaptation of Twopence To Cross The Mersey also features a sizeable chunk from Liverpool Miss, Helen’s second volume of autobiography, so newcomers to Helen’s story will get a complete picture of her early years in Liverpool.”
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.
Adapted by Rob Fennah · Directed by Gareth Tudor Price
Produced by Pulse Records Limited in association with Bill Elms
Fully endorsed by the Helen Forrester Estate
TWOPENCE TO CROSS THE MERSEY
Tuesday 6 September – Sunday 11 September 2022
Marine Promenade, New Brighton, Wirral, CH45 2JS
Box Office: 0151 666 0000
Wednesday 14 September – Friday 17 September 2022
East Parade, Rhyl, Denbighshire, LL18 3AQ
Box Office: 01745 330000
Monday 19 September – Tuesday 20 September 2022
Mersey Square, Stockport, SK1 1SP
Box Office: 0161 477 7779
Wednesday 21 September – Saturday 24 September 2022
Heath Street, Crewe, CW1 2DA
Box Office: 0343 310 0050
ST HELENS THEATRE ROYAL
Tuesday 27 September – Saturday 1 October 2022
Corporation Street, St Helens, WA10 1LQ
Box Office: 01744 756000
GRAND THEATRE BLACKPOOL
Tuesday 4 October – Thursday 6 October 2022
33 Church Street, Blackpool, FY1 1HT
Box Office: 01253 290190
WARRINGTON PARR HALL
Saturday 8 October – Sunday 9 October 2022
Palmyra Square, Warrington, WA1 1BL
Box Office: 01925 442345
Tuesday 11 October – Wednesday 12 October 2022
Parkgate, Darlington, DL1 1RR
Box Office: 01325 405405
Thursday 13 October – Friday 14 October 2022
Fountain Street, Halifax, HX1 1BP
Box Office: 01422 351158
CROYDON FAIRFIELD HALLS
Monday 17 October – Tuesday 18 October 2022
Park Lane, Croydon, CR9 1DG
Box Office: 0300 500 0595
Wednesday 19 October – Friday 21 October 2022
Albany Road, Coventry, CV5 6JQ
Box Office: 024 7699 8964
BOLTON ALBERT HALLS
Tuesday 25 October – Thursday 27 October 2022
Victoria Square, Bolton, BL1 1RU
Box Office: 0343 208 0500
Tuesday 1 November – Friday 4 November 2022
Lord Street, Southport, PR8 1DB
Box Office: 01704 533333
EPSTEIN THEATRE LIVERPOOL
Saturday 5 November – Saturday 12 November 2022
85 Hanover Street, Liverpool, L1 3DZ
Box Office: 0844 888 9991