We're planning some wonderful events to celebrate forgotten variety stars Gwen Farrar and Norah Blaney in the places they lived and worked. 2020 will see Behind The Lines touring to Bradford, St Austell and Effingham to engage with local communities in creating some sensational 1920s and 30s themed theatrical happenings. Watch this space.
The book 'Tell Me I'm Forgiven:The Story of Forgotten Stars Gwen Farrar and Norah Blaney' is available here.
Saturday 7th March 7.00 p.m. Twenties Night Effingham Golf Club. More details very soon.
Saturday 14th March Bohemian Effingham Exhibition King George V Hall Effingham
Gwen & Norah
The true story of England's first great female double act.
Gwen Farrar and Norah Blaney were stars in the 1920s, singing the popular love songs of the day to each other on stage and recording the hit song of 1924. They topped the bill at the Coliseum, the Palladium, the Alhambra and the Victoria Palace as well as music halls up and down the country. Separately, Gwen toured with the legendary popular pianist Billy Mayerl while Norah starred in the original London production of The Vagabond King. Together they barely disguised the secret of their lesbian partnership which was to endure across three decades against all the odds.
“I adored this lovely, moving story, so well researched, such amazing photos. Lesbian passion-skilfully evoked in the 1920s showbiz milieu. Wish I’d been there!”
Miriam Margolyes, Actor Harry Potter, Call The Midwife
"A perfect match between biographer and subject. Alison Child does this wonderful duo proud."
Diana Souhami, author Gluck, The Trials of Radclyffe Hall, Wild Girls.
“Alison Child plunges the reader into the fascinating world of Norah Blaney and Gwen Farrar: English stars of revue and silent screen. It’s a story of showbiz chemistry and lesbian love. Historians of sexuality will be grateful to Child - as well as lovers of theatre and cinema. I am very grateful to her for introducing me to these amazing women!”
Peter Bradshaw, Film Critic, Author Night of Triumph
"A lively, racy tale of two top-notch celebrities in their day, thoroughly researched, with stunning photographs. A vital read for anyone interested in British lesbian history.” Jill Gardiner, authorFrom the Closet to the Screen: Women at the Gateways Club, 1945-1985
"A skilfully-researched evocation of a world in which being queer is ordinary, and the story is told in a voice to match. A riveting read. It brings a fascinating perspective to the 20C, reversing so many historical presumptions about what is significant, mainstream and familiar."
Professor Sarah Lloyd Director: Everyday Lives in War, First World War Engagement Centre
"A fascinating and moving story, and the depth and detail of the research are awe-inspiring! This book puts an important missing piece into the jigsaw of lesbian history."
Dr Jane Traies, author Now You See Me
"This a truly wonderful book. Written with such easy authority and charm. Two women of shining talent who were partners on stage and off. The whole world of smart Bohemian London, theatres and
Halls as well as lesbian life is so vividly and perceptively conveyed. And sumptuously illustrated too. As a child in a house shared by two women, where Gwen was an almost daily subject of
conversation (and whose photograph stood on a bookshelf,) and tea with Norah (clever, funny and full of tricks) was a fairly frequent treat, I know this book is true in fact and spirit to a
forgotten age. As important to an explorer of queer history as to the lover of theatre and music hall."
Charles Duff, author of The Lost Summer, the Heyday of the West End Theatre and Charley’s Woods, Sex, Sorrow and a Spiritual Quest in Snowdonia.