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  • Event data supplied by Leeds Inspired

Play, Sat 17 Nov 2018

Our Catherine - the life of Catherine Cookson

Our Catherine - the life of Catherine Cookson


Many leading 20th century women have been celebrated during 2018 to mark the centenary of the Representation of the People Act.  Let’s not forget Dame Catherine Cookson, who definitely deserves to be recognised amongst them.  On the 20 year anniversary of Catherine’s death a new show is being performed in Leeds, which celebrates her life and achievements as a novelist.

It is often said that Catherine’s life resembles one of her novels.  She wrote primarily about the hardships suffered by people in the north east at the beginning of the 20th century.  Catherine was an illegitimate child of an alcoholic mother and grew up in extreme poverty.  She left school at the age of 13 and spent much of her life employed in a workhouse.  However, the story then changes.  At the age of 44, Catherine started writing novels and quickly became one of most widely read authors of our time. 

Catherine Cookson wrote over 100 novels and sold 120 million copies worldwide.  She was the most borrowed author from public libraries in the UK for a period of nearly 20 years. What is even more remarkable is that she did this whilst recovering from a mental breakdown and suffering severe physical ill health.  Catherine continued to write up until her death at the age of 91.

This story is being told by Gemma Irving in a new show called Our Catherine.  Using original songs, the show reveals the type of person that Catherine was and how she managed to prevail over her circumstances.  It is a celebratory piece about how a person’s strength can be forged from their art, through love and by maintaining a sense of belonging.

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Event details

Dates Times
Sat 17 Nov 2018 19:45 to 00:00


£10 in advance (plus booking fee); or £12 on the door



    Gemma Irving


    31a Harrogate Road,
    Chapel Allerton,
    LS7 3PD



    See location of Seven Artspace on Google mapsSee location on Google maps

    Map reference: SE 305369  Lat: 53.82801 Long: -1.53763

    By Car: Seven is based on Harrogate Road (A58) near the centre of Chapel Allerton. Find us just below Casa Mia Grande. It's opposite the Library and 30 yards down the road towards Leeds City Centre.

    By Public Transport: Regular buses run to the venue from the city centre (number 2, 3 or 3A) or from Headingley and Harehills (number 91).

    There is no parking at Seven, but on-street parking is available on Harrogate Road and out-of-hours behind the Somerfield supermarket.

    Parking: free

    Accessible by Public Transport: 2 miles from Leeds station


    • Baby changing facilitiesBaby changing facilities
    • Accepts groupsAccepts groups