At the start of December, during the launch for Skin Like Silver, the latest Tom Harper novel, an actress took on the role of Annabelle Harper for a couple of minutes, delivering the Suffragist speech she gives in the book.
The idea ignited something in me. I’ve wanted to tell Annabelle’s story for a long time – she’s one of those characters who refuses to leave me alone. I’ve tried on the page but it’s never caught fire.
But on the stage, with actress Carolyn Eden reprising the role…that could work. And I started writing. I’m still writing, but the whole piece has a real shape at this point. It’s alive.
And now I can tell you that The Empress on the Corner, the one-woman show about Annabelle Harper, will be staged at Leeds Big Bookend festival in early June. It’s a big step for me to move away from the page. But I do love a challenge.
It’s the story of a woman in life, love, politics. And it’s a story about Leeds, too. In Annabelle the two are interwined. How she grows and grabs life and independence.
Of course, I hope you’ll come….and to remind you of the catalyst, here’s Carolyn’s note-perfect portrayal of Annabelle