A STAGE play based on the memoirs of Wirral author Helen Forrester will premier in Liverpool next year.

Twopence To Cross The Mersey has already enjoyed huge success as a stage musical, with sell-out performances at the Liverpool Empire.

Its producers have now turned her story into a straight play that will be staged at the city's Epstein Theatre in March next year.

It tells the tale of a young girl and her formerly wealthy family who are suddenly thrown into poverty during the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Leaving behind the nannies, servants and comfortable middle-class life in the South West of England, they uproot and choose Liverpool as the city to restart and rebuild their dreams and fortune.

Unbeknown to them however, they are in for a terrible shock.

The musical version of the show had four hugely successful runs at the city's Empire Theatre, firstly in 2004 and then returning in 2005, 2007 and 2009 under the helm of Rob Fennah and production company Pulse Records.

Now Pulse will collaborate with new producer Bill Elms and work towards a touring production of the play.

Rob Fennah said: "Over the years I discovered that not all Helen Forrester's readers were fans of musical theatre and so decided to adapt Twopence To Cross The Mersey into a straight stage play.

"This production will be a much more intimate affair and, as such, the Epstein Theatre is the perfect venue to launch this new show."

During the course of his work on the musical version Twopence To Cross The Mersey, Rob built up a relationship with Hoylake-born Helen, who was very much involved in the project. She died, aged 92, in Canada in 2011.

Rob said: "I got to know Helen very well during the last 20 years of her life and, during the writing of the original script, she would often send faxes and letters of encouragement together with all sorts of additional information that didn't appear in her books.

"I'm so glad she got the chance to see it and I was delighted when she gave it her full backing."

Co-Producer Bill Elms said: "I have had the pleasure to work with Pulse Records on all its Empire visits over a 15-year period and have witnessed the popularity of this story from one of the city’s greatest writers.

“I am delighted to come on board on this new phase in the shows history, Helen Forrester’s books are still so much loved in the city and also beyond and I am convinced that theatregoers are going to love this new format.”

The show will be staged at the Epstein Theatre from March 10–21 next year. A full all-star cast to be announced soon.

Tickets are from call 0844 888 4411, www.epsteinliverpool.co.uk or in person at the theatre in Hanover Street, Liverpool.