Treasured story resonates 50 years on

A story of triumph over adversity which still resonates with people almost half a century after it was written is returning to Parr Hall’s stage next year.

Helen Forrester’s Twopence to Cross the Mersey will be performed in Warrington on Saturday and Sunday, 8 and 9 October.

This new production – based on the author’s multi-million selling autobiography – has been adapted by Rob Fennah and will be directed by Gareth Tudor Price with a star-studded cast that will be announced nearer the time.

Drawing on her own childhood experiences, Helen Forrester painted a vivid portrait of life in the 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 luxuries of life in their beautiful middle-class home in the 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 had long since gone.

While 12-year-old Helen’s 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 as the family began to rely on handouts and the kindness of strangers.

But, by 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 letting their ‘selfish daughter’ go that easily.

Helen Forrester died in 2011 but her 100th birthday was celebrated posthumously with blue plaque outside the author’s former home in Hoylake. Her books and life story have continued to inspire playwright Rob Fennah, who was a friend of Helen’s in the latter years of her life.

Tickets are on sale here or call the box office on 01925 442345.