Actors’ Novel launch of Val Wood’s new book

By way of artists helping one-another during the current crisis, author Val Wood has teamed up with Annie Kirkman and Jessica Duffield, co-founders of She Productions theatre company, to bring an excerpt of her latest novel to the online stage.

Pictured: Jessica and Annie in Beryl at ERT 2019.
Pictured: Jessica and Annie in Beryl at ERT 2019. 

Val’s titles are usually launched with an annual signing event at Waterstones in Hull. The current lockdown restrictions prevent the event from taking place, so Val and the performers won’t be letting the occasion pass by without ceremony.

Val said: “It’s always the highlight of my year, catching up with loyal readers and signing their books. But this year public safety comes first so Jessica and Annie kindly agreed to get involved – offering a taster of my new novel, The Lonely Wife, to readers whilst they remain safe at home.

“I originally considered recording myself giving a reading of the book’s early chapters because of the constraints of recent months, I felt I wanted to do something special and completely different. Jessica Duffield and Annie Kirkman from She Productions were keen to be involved, so we’ve come up with a plan.”

Based in Hull and East Yorkshire, She Productions is an all female-collective who develop and produce theatre work, driven by the female voice. This appealed to Val as all of her books centre around a strong female protagonist who is based in the Hull and East Yorkshire region.

Val continued: “Jessica and Annie are incredibly talented. I’ve seen them both in several performances and have always come away feeling inspired. They have a good understanding of the area and both are experts when it comes to character work so I am confident that my novel is in good hands.

“It has been a terrible year for the arts and although support has recently been granted, we have lockdown 2 to contend with and there is still much to be done to ensure our theatres stay protected, particularly as Christmas approaches and pantomime season faces cancellation. I am thrilled to be working alongside such talented actors and delighted that we have a sense of solidarity across the creative arts sector.”

Currently the actors are busy rehearsing their dramatised online reading, released on the 12 November, the day that Val’s novel The Lonely Wife is due for release.

Actor and co Founder of She Productions Annie Kirkman said: “It’s a real pleasure to work with Val on this project and bring an extract of her novel to life in a different way. At a time when most theatres are still closed including Beverley’s lovely East Riding Theatre, it has been fantastic to see so many creatives and arts organisations take their work online. There’s nothing quite like a good book, a play, a song or a piece of art to help people escape from life’s uncertainties.”

Jessica, co founder of She Productions and a regular on the ERT stage said: “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to take on the protagonist of the novel, Beatrix. She has a wry sense of humour and it’s great fun narrating her thoughts and savouring her words. It’s wonderful to work with Val, knowing how much her work is loved by so many and to be able to enjoy creativity in a time when we need it more than ever.”

The performance will be available to view from 5pm on 12 November on Val Wood’s website and social media accounts.

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[Leigh Clark – Divine Clark PR]