A familiar and much-loved face on stage and screen, actress Sian Reeves is about to cause a stir on the cobbles of Coronation Street. But Sian is also about to take on a headline role in the brand-new stage production of Helen Forrester’s By The Waters Of Liverpool.
Sian will play the role of Helen’s Mother, Celia Forrester, a testing and challenging role portraying a strong woman affected by her life, and that of her family, being turned upside down.
By The Waters Of Liverpool Spring 2020 UK Tour opens on Tuesday 3 March at the New Brighton Floral Pavilion in Wirral – just a few miles from where acclaimed author Helen Forrester was born.
The 11-week national tour will visit 17 venues across the country and follows a hugely successful run at the Liverpool Empire Theatre in October 2018, when the new production was premiered to rave reviews.
After opening in New Brighton, the tour will then head to Stockport, Warrington, St Helens, Lancaster, Crewe, Southport, Rhyl, Swansea, Darlington, Malvern, Eastbourne, Isle Of Man, Hayes, Winchester, Liverpool, and Blackpool.
The touring cast also features Mark Moraghan, Parry Glasspool, Lucy Dixon, Eric Potts, Lynn Francis, Danny O’Brien, Roy Carruthers, and Chloe McDonald.
In celebration of Helen Forrester’s 100th Birthday, an iconic Blue Plaque will be unveiled at a special event in February at the late author’s family home in Hoylake – a place which featured heavily in Helen’s four volumes of best-selling autobiography, including Twopence To Cross The Mersey.
Sian will be joined by fellow cast member, Mark Moraghan who plays Helen’s Father, and Helen Forrester’s son Robert Bhatia to unveil the Blue Plaque.
Ahead of going into rehearsals for By The Waters Of Liverpool, Sian talks about what a challenging and important role she has to play portraying Helen’s Mother, Celia. She explains:
“I’m playing Helen’s Mother, Celia Forrester, who is a wonderfully complex person. From money, status and class before the great depression of the 1930s, to then losing everything and being dumped in a damp bug infested house with one cold water tap, and one toilet – with seven children to look after. She absolutely cannot shake herself out of the nightmare that is now her new life. She is stunned that her husband, who once held a senior position in the financial world, cannot find work and they have to grovel for hand-outs from the local parish.
“To escape the confines of their now smelly, claustrophobic house, she leaves the day-to-day running of the family to her 11-year-old daughter Helen, which manifests itself and show her as a very strict and uncaring woman. Helen actually said of her mother, ‘her bouts of temper bordered on insanity’ – it really shows just how exhausted and dreadfully depressed she is. It’s a great role to play.”
Sian also spoke about her delight in being asked to help unveil the Blue Plaque to celebrate Helen Forrester’s life and literary achievements. She added:
“I have read about five of Helen’s books and it’s a real treat to be re-reading and playing Celia. I also feel very honoured to have been asked to unveil Helen’s Blue Plaque with my lovely co-star Mark Moraghan, who I’ve worked with before. Helen was a magnificently clever woman, and it will be lovely to meet some of her family at this very special occasion.”
West Bromwich born Sian Reeves is an original cast member of the 1985 stage production of Les Misérables. She also later appeared in the 25th anniversary performance at London’s O2. Sian has already shared a stage with fellow By The Waters Of Liverpool cast member Mark Moraghan in celebrity TV singing contest, Just The Two Of Us – when Sian and opera singer Russell Watson won the competition.
Sian’s television credits also include Casualty, Cutting It, Emmerdale, Hope Springs, Holby City and, more recently Coronation Street. Theatre credits include West Side Story, Love Me Tender, The Merchant Of Venice, and The Little Match Girl.
Sian can currently be seen appearing in Coronation Street, where she is sending revelations and shock waves throughout Weatherfield.
Sian plays Charlie Wood, the wife Tim Metcalfe didn’t know he had. They married some years ago on a whim after meeting in Las Vegas – however Tim presumed it was a spoof wedding. Until now when he realises the drunken ceremony was actually legally binding. Fearful of being charged with bigamy, Tim tracks Charlie down and asks for a divorce. But things don’t quite go to plan when Charlie arrives in The Street. Sian adds:
“Charlie Wood is a sweet girl. When they meet up again, Tim doesn’t mention being married to Sally. He lavishes a lot of attention on her to get the divorce, and she thinks he’s in love with her. Humiliated when Sally confronts them – she runs off without signing the papers. But if Tim was hoping he’d seen the last of her, he was very much mistaken. Watch this space!”
By The Waters Of Liverpool 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, but they were in for a terrible shock. Taken out of school to look after her young siblings, Helen is treated as an unpaid slave. So 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.
The new touring production of By The Waters Of Liverpool is again produced by Pulse Records Limited in association with Bill Elms and is directed by Gareth Tudor Price.
This new production of By The Waters Of Liverpool also features sizeable chunks from Helen’s earlier book Liverpool Miss, together with flashbacks to Twopence To Cross The Mersey.
By The Waters Of Liverpool has sold more than a million books. Now this is your chance to see it come to life in this brand-new stage play adaptation.
Helen Forrester’s best-selling volumes of autobiography include Twopence To Cross The Mersey, Liverpool Miss, By The Waters Of Liverpool, and Lime Street At Two.