New Tour Announcement: By The Waters of Liverpool

New Tour Announcement: By The Waters of Liverpool

Pulse Records Limited and Bill Elms present
Autumn tour announcement for new Helen Forrester play

By The Waters Of Liverpool

Performance Times & Tickets

The Atkinson, Southport

Thu 12 Oct: 7:30pm
Fri 13 Oct: 2:30pm & 7:30pm
Sat 14 Oct: 2:30pm & 7:30pm
Running time: 120 minutes

Matinee: £23 / £21 concession.
Evening: £25 / £23 concession.
Group booking offer: Buy 10 tickets get the 11th free

A brand new stage production documenting the early life of best-selling author Helen Forrester is going back on the road during Autumn 2023 after its inaugural tour came to a standstill at the start of the Covid pandemic. Helen Forrester has won a legion of fans across the world with her enigmatic and touching portrayal of her life story in four volumes of autobiography Twopence To Cross The Mersey, Liverpool Miss, By The Waters of Liverpool, and Lime Street At Two. 

After a number of years in the planning, the eagerly awaited By The Waters Of Liverpool production began a 17-venue UK tour spanning almost three months – however the curtain came down just two weeks in as the country went into a national lockdown. Fast forward almost three years, and the team behind the production is thrilled to announce the show’s return with By The Waters Of Liverpool Autumn 2023 UK Tour.

The new eight-week tour will visit 12 venues starting in Liverpool and finishing in New Brighton – both locations hugely important in Helen’s life story. The tour opens with a 10-date run at Liverpool’s Epstein Theatre from 6 September 2023, and concludes with six days at the Floral Pavilion in New Brighton in late October – just a few miles from where Helen Forrester was born in Wirral. Between Liverpool and New Brighton, the production will also visit venues in Crewe, Coventry, Sale, Rhyl, Darlington, Lichfield, St Helens, Southport, Halifax, and Lytham.

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. It also features sizeable chunks from Helen’s earlier book Liverpool Miss, together with flashbacks to Twopence To Cross The Mersey and elements of Lime Street At Two to give audiences a complete picture of her life. The new touring production of By The Waters Of Liverpool is once again produced by Rob Fennah and Lynn McDermott for Pulse Records Limited and Bill Elms. The show is directed by Gareth Tudor Price. The cast will be announced in the coming weeks.

Millions of people worldwide are familiar with Helen Forrester’s life story which is 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 to mark her 100th Birthday 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 tour announcement follows a successful tour of its predecessor Twopence To Cross The Mersey which toured the UK throughout Autumn 2022 to rave reviews. Writer Rob Fennah enjoyed a long friendship with Helen Forrester since adapting her first book Twopence To Cross The Mersey into a stage musical in 1994. It premiered at the Liverpool Empire Theatre and Helen travelled from her home in Edmonton, Canada, to see first-hand her story brought to life on stage. Rob later went on to develop Twopence into a straight play which has toured successfully since its first outing in 2015. Since the author’s death in 2011, Rob has remained friends with Helen’s son Robert Bhatia. The productions are fully endorsed by the Helen Forrester Estate.

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.

Writer and Producer Rob Fennah commented: “When By The Waters Of Liverpool was forced to close back in March 2020, we all thought it was a setback and we’d be back on the road within a few months. It never occurred to us that it would be over three years before the show would hit the stage again. As with everyone working in the arts at that time, it proved to be a very difficult period forcing many talented people to leave the industry for good. But in true Helen Forrester style, we managed to survive and now want audiences to know that By The Waters Of Liverpool is coming back, bigger and better than ever.”

Helen Forrester’s son, Robert Bhatia, said: “The partnership between playwright Rob Fennah and my mother Helen, and her legacy, has been outstanding.”

Adapted by Rob Fennah. Directed by Gareth Tudor Price.
Produced by Pulse Records Limited and Bill Elms.
Fully endorsed by the Helen Forrester Estate.


About Helen Forrester

Helen Forrester was born June Huband in Hoylake, Cheshire (now in Merseyside), 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 Liverpool and Bootle, 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. It 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. She died on 24 November 2011 in Edmonton, Alberta.


Posted on 1 February 2023 under General news, Theatre & Studio

Share your comments