Royal seal of approval for story of heroine

The letter received by Ed Waugh from Buckingham Palace.
The letter received by Ed Waugh from Buckingham Palace.

YOU might think The Queen would be busy preparing to celebrate her diamond jubille.

But HRH has taken the time to send a letter of support to the Tyneside-based writers whose new play is about the 19th century sea rescue heroine Grace Darling.

The play, called Amazing Grace, will be performed throughout the north east this autumn starting at Alnwick Playhouse on October 17.

Her Majesty wrote to playwrights Ed Waugh and Trevor Wood to convey her interest in the subject and to wish everyone involved with the project “a most successful and enjoyable tour”.

Trevor said: “Obviously we’re absolutely delighted The Queen has expressed her support for the play.

“We were really keen to celebrate the life of Grace Darling and remind the world about the heroic and selfless rescue she and her lighthouse keeper carried out on the Farne Islands during a storm in September 1838 when they rescued 9 people stranded on Harcar Rock, a part of the Farne Islands off the Northumberland coast.

“Grace was sent £50 by the young Queen Victoria and, after Victoria, became the best known woman in the country. The present Queen is patron of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).

“Amazing Grace tells the story of Grace Darling through the eyes of a modern-day writer called Grace who wants to make a film about her famous namesake but at every step is forced to defend the memory of Grace against the Hollywood machine who want to corrupt her story to make it more commercial.

“It’s something Grace actually faced as West End plays were performed and novels written about her in her own lifetime that completely distorted the facts.

“Given the subject matter, we were particularly keen to use the play to help the RNLI and at the end of the shows at each of the ten venues there will be a collection for the magnificent work these selfless volunteers do.”

The three-week north east tour will begin with a world premiere at Alnwick Playhouse, the co-producer of the play, on Wednesday, October 17, and will call at the Playhouse Whitley Bay on November 3.

Call the theatre’s box office on 0844 2772771 for tickets.