Sweet Mother takes tale of Toxteth resilience on national tour


A verbatim play celebrating the resilience of women in the heart of the Toxteth community is being toured to venues across Liverpool City Region and beyond this autumn.

Nwoko Arts’ Sweet Mother was originally staged at the Royal Court Studio in March 2020 just before the first Covid lockdown.

It is based on verbatim interviews with dozens of women from Toxteth who shared their experiences of raising families in the area from the 1950s to the 1980s, highlighting the previously untold stories of white women who married into the Liverpool 8 Black community during a time of unrest.

Sweet Mother originally focused on three women – Vera McRae, Josie Burger and Joan Caddick, played by Margaret Connell, Amanda George-Higgins and Lisa McMahon.

Now a new production of the play has been created which introduces a fourth voice, Marie Chicken (Helena Rand) developed from interviews carried out with women across the country.

It has already been performed to a sold-out audience at The Brink in Liverpool and will be staged at Norton Priory at Runcorn on November 3, and Lock and Quay at Bootle on November 16 as part of the new tour

There are also dates at Camden People's Theatre in London.

Nwoko Arts’ artistic director Maria Paul, who devised and researched the oral history project and who directs the production, says: “Sweet Mother is a story of resilience, friendship, and community support.

“I’m interested in adding the fourth character as I think it will show there are many similarities between the stories of mothers in communities like Toxteth, across the country.”

Sweet Mother is at Norton Priory on November 3 and Lock and Quay on November 16.


Top: Margaret Connell, Amanda George-Higgins and Lisa McMahon in rehearsals. Photo by Siobhan Noble