Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

We're Here to Tell the Story of Nazzie House

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

We're Here to Tell the Story of Nazzie House

Article excerpt

Byline: JOANNE WELFORD joanne.welford@reachplc.com @joannewelford

WHEN Anne Fothergill was two, her mum walked out of their family home leaving behind a husband and three young children.

It was to alter the course of her life forever as, just 10 days later, she and her sister found themselves thrown in to completely different and bewildering circumstances. They were taken to Middlesbrough convent Nazareth House where the rules were strict and life was tough.

To outsiders they were the 'Nazzie House' girls, with all the stigma that entailed - but to those on the inside, the threat from nuns and bullies helped to create a camaraderie and a bond that Anne never forgot.

Often on their knees praying or scrubbing and polishing the convent floors, she told of running away, having her head shaved and meeting up again with her mother years later in a book she penned five years ago entitled Memoirs of a Nazareth House Girl.

Now the Thornaby grandmother has turned the work in to a play which takes to the stage at Middlesbrough Theatre on September 12. Simply titled The Nazzie House Girls, it promises a humorous and illuminating account of Anne's 13 years spent in care from the time she entered Nazareth House in 1951, and despite the tough subject, it is filled with warmth, comedy and shared memories, she says.

"To outsiders we were called The Nazzie House Girls and I suppose this created a bond between us, a camaraderie," says Anne.

"Other memories include the early wake-up call. We were often on our knees praying or scrubbing and polishing floors. The fun we girls had though without the nuns knowing!" "I was often told by my readers that my story would transfer well to the stage or film. This gave me the idea of bringing my story to life.

"I thought about it and decided to write the story for the stage. There is quite a bit of dialogue in my book which made it ideal to transform it into a play, it was not difficult to set the scenes as each one is based on an experience I had in Nazareth House. …

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