Play telling the story of national treasure Kathleen Ferrier hits Islington stage to celebrate Diamond Jubilee

A play telling the story of great English contralto Kathleen Ferrier – who was part of the fabric of the nation at the time of the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation – will be performed in Islington next week to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee.

In the first dramatisation of her life, Whattalife, follows her from her debut as a singer in 1940, through her meteoric rise and her tragic death from breast cancer at the height of her fame in 1953.

The play directed by Chris Baldwin will entertain audiences at The Barn in Upper Street, Islington, at 7pm on Monday and Tuesday evening,

Kathleen is played by Lucy Stevens of Thornhill Road, Islington, who recently read from her letters for Music Matters on BBC Radio 3.

She said: “What struck me when I read Kathleen Ferrier’s letters was how she spoke freely from the heart.

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“She wrote to her sister and father, to her friends and to her collaborators with the same open honesty – like a chat over a cup tea. Turning her letters into a play releases the power of those private conversations.

“It is an intimate record of a period well remembered by our parents and grandparents, from the Blitz until the Coronation.

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“What her letters enable Whattalife! to do is reveal the extraordinary ‘ordinary person’ behind the public image. She was a Lancastrian who talked straight from the heart and recounted, with humour, the twist and turns of life through those tumultuous years.”

For further information see Tickets are available at

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