First wave of cast members announced for Helen Forrester play ‘By The Waters Of Liverpool’

First wave of cast members announced for Helen Forrester play ‘By The Waters Of Liverpool’

Performance Times & Tickets

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
School Bookings: £13 with 1 free teacher for every 10 tickets booked. *Thu 12 Oct 7:30pm and *Fri 13 Oct 2:30pm.

Book Tickets

About the production

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 to race reviews for a UK tour in Autumn 2022. The play 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 creative team are producers Rob Fennah and Lynn McDermott for Pulse Records Limited and Bill Elms. The show is directed by Gareth Tudor Price.

In just five months, 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. Now the production team and cast are crossing off the weeks until the tour opens an eight-week tour will visit 12 venues across the country.

The creative team have this week announced the first wave of cast members, which includes familiar faces who have told Helen’s story through the plays in recent years. Helen’s Mother will be played by Lynn Francis, she will be joined by Daniel Taylor, Lynne Fitzgerald, Roy Carruthers, Samantha Alton, and Joe Owens. The lead roles of Helen Forrester, John Forrester (Helen’s Father), and Harry O’Dwyer (Helen’s love interest) will be announced soon.

Co-producer Bill Elms commented: “The production and tour of By The Waters Of Liverpool has been many years in the planning – and now we’re just five months away until we can continue to tell Helen’s life story on stage. Announcing the first cast members is a significant point in our countdown to opening. As custodians of Helen’s work, we feel honoured to be able to bring her words to life on stage. Our excellent cast – Lynn Francis, Daniel Taylor, Lynne Fitzgerald, Roy Carruthers, Samantha Alton, and Joe Owens – are hugely talented and will tell Helen’s story with heart, depth, and real emotion. We will be announcing our three lead cast members in the coming weeks.”

Writer and producer Rob Fennah added: “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.”

By The Waters Of Liverpool Autumn 2023 UK Tour starts in Liverpool and finishes in New Brighton – both locations hugely important in Helen’s life story. After opening in at the Epstein Theatre, it will later conclude 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.


Four of the cast members – Lynn Francis, Daniel Taylor, Lynne Fitzgerald, and Roy Carruthers – are all returning after appearing in the Twopence To Cross The Mersey tour last year.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Writer and producer 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.

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

By The Waters 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. 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.

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.

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.



Posted on 29 April 2023 under General news, Theatre & Studio

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