Bittersweet tale of young mothers

BE My Baby is a teen pregnancy tale of hope, friendship and survival from one of the UK’s most successful playwrights and is at Derby Theatre from April 29 to May 21.

Written by Amanda Whittington, Be My Baby is set in 1964 when heads would certainly have been turning (and the net curtains twitching) for Mary, Queenie, Norma and Dolores and many more like them.

Be My Baby tells the stories of four young women earning their keep until delivering their little bundles of adoption fodder in St Saviour’s, a church-run “mother and baby” home somewhere in a remote part of England.

Young women come here, and are encouraged, to hide from the public gaze until the birth of their babies, who are then handed over, whether they like it or not.

Until now, Mary Adams’s life has revolved around her boyfriend and her Dansette record player. She’s 19, in love, unmarried and – as her mother has just discovered – seven months pregnant.

The trouble is that Mary’s mother didn’t get her into grammar school for nothing, As far as she can see, there’s just one hope – St Saviour’s.

Here Mary’s pregnancy can be kept a secret, and the baby put up for adoption. That’s as long as the other mums-to-be don’t ruin mother’s scheme.

The only solace the girls find is in the camaraderie of others in the same predicament and through the girl group songs in Mary’s record collection. The glorious sounds of The Ronettes, The Dixie Cups,

The Shangri-Las and a host of others add a bittersweet soundtrack of teenage love, longing and idealised happy endings to this heartbreaking drama.

Amanda Whittington has been described as Britain’s most consistently popular female dramatist by one national newspaper. Be My Baby was originally produced by Soho Theatre and is regularly produced

throughout the UK. It is published by Nick Hern Books and is studied for both GCSE and A-Level. Her plays Ladies Day and its sequel, Ladies Down Under are also widely performed throughout the country.

Amanda has four plays published by Nick Hern Books and writes regularly for BBC Radio 4, contributing to the Woman’s Hour serial and Afternoon Play slots. She is currently working on new commissions for Nottingham Playhouse, New Vic Stoke and Splice Productions (Bristol).

Be My Baby, first produced in 1998, stars Emily Alexander, Michelle Tate, Jessica Clark, Karen Drury and Jenny Hulse and will be directed by Esther Richardson.

Tickets to see Be My Baby at Derby Theatre are £8-£21. Call the box office on 01332 255800.