A STAGE play based on the sequel to Wirral author Helen Forrester's autobiographical novel 'Twopence To Cross The Mersey will go on UK tour next year.

By The Waters Of Liverpool premiered at the Liverpool Empire, to critical acclaim in October.

An 11-week tour celebrating what would have been Helen Forrester's 100th Birthday will open at the Floral Pavilion in New Brighton from March 3-8 next year, just a few miles from where she was born.

It will move on to the Stockport Plaza from March 10-12, Warrington Parr Hall on March 14-15, St Helens Theatre Royal from March 17-21, Lancaster Grand on March 23-24, Crewe Lyceum on March 25-26, and Southport Theatre on March 27-28.

It continues with dates at Rhyl Pavilion Theatre from March 31 to April 4, Swansea Grand Theatre on April 6-7, Darlington Hippodrome from April 9-11, and Malvern Theatres on April 14-15.

The tour's second leg and full casting will be announced in the coming weeks.

The show's Wirral-born producer Rob Fennah told the Globe: "We had an amazing response when we premiered By The Waters Of Liverpool last autumn.

"Helen Forrester's books resonate with millions of people across the UK and many more around the world.

"This adaptation of By The Waters Of Liverpool features a sizeable chunk from Liverpool Miss, Helen's second volume of autobiography, together with flashbacks to Twopence To Cross The Mersey, so newcomers to Helen's story will get a complete picture of her life.

"This June marks the centenary of Helen’s birth and, although she is no longer with us, she'll be in our thoughts at this very special time.

"Last year her son Robert Bhatia made the journey from Canada to see the production at the Liverpool Empire and loved it.

"Now, with Robert's full backing, we can’t wait to share his mother's story with audiences across the UK."

By the age of 17, Helen had fought and won two bitter battles with her parents – the first to educate herself, the second for the right to go out to work.

Her parents are as financially irresponsible as ever, wasting money while their children still lack adequate food and clothing.

But for Helen, things are looking up as she begins to make new friends and develop some social life outside the home.

By The Waters Of Liverpool takes the audience to the next chapter in her life.

It's now 1939, Britain is on the brink of war, Helen is now aged 20 and has never been kissed by a man. That is until she meets a tall, strong seaman. And falls in love.

Helen Forrester was born June Huband, in Hoylake, in 1919, the eldest of seven children of socialite middle-class parents who lived on credit.

When her father was made bankrupt during the Great Depression, the large 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, they took the train to Liverpool, where they hoped to rebuild their lives.

Twopence to Cross the Mersey tells that story.

It was the first of an autobiographical trilogy that includes Liverpool Miss and By The Waters Of Liverpool.

Rob Fennah continued: "By The Waters of Liverpool is the third in a series of novels, and people may think they'll need to read the second book before they see the play.

"They won’t have too, because I have used some of the second book, Liverpool Miss, in the current Twopence play and use other parts of that book it in the new production.

"All three books have sold over a million copies, so I’m sure the new show will be equally successful.

"Everyone who sees Twopence wants to know what happened to Helen and By The Waters of Liverpool answers that question.

"It takes you right up to when she was in her 20s and living through the war.

"It's a totally different show to Twopence.

"Helen is an adult and this part of her story is really powerful and moving."

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

She would often send Rob faxes and letters of encouragement together with all sorts of additional information that didn't appear in her books.

Recalling his friendship with Helen, Rob said during the show's launch: "Helen's grandmother lived in Warren Road, Hoylake.

"I went to Hoylake Parade school and used to deliver newspapers as boy in Warren Road.

"It's funny because the last time I saw Helen, she was promoting one of her books.

"We met at the King's Gap Hotel in Hoylake and I asked where her grandmother lived. She said 'I'll show you'.

"So, we put our cups down walked me round the corner to what was the family home in Warren Road. I remembered it because it was a house I used to deliver papers to as a kid.

"It was quite a poignant moment for me, although I didn’t know it at the time, that this would be her last visit to the UK.

"I was the last person she was with when she last set eyes on her grandmother's home."

Tickets for the Floral Pavilion leg of the tour are from www.floralpavilion.com or 0151 666 0000.

For updates on the tour see www.bythewatersofliverpool.com or www.facebook.com/ByTheWatersThePlay