"A wonderful revelation of a side of Noël’s character that so few people know about."
- MICHAEL ATTENBOROUGH CBE
The Importance of Happiness
and the Actors' Orphanage
This is the little known and inspiring true story of how the legendary playwright Noël Coward and his committee of famous actors transformed the brutal and austere Actors’ Orphanage (for the children of struggling or absent actor parents) into a place of love and laughter.
Until that is, World War II arrives and the Blitz. The entire orphanage is evacuated across a dangerous Atlantic Ocean to the United States. In New York the children will find a new level of freedom, put on a Broadway show and meet stars such as Charlie Chaplin and Gertrude Lawrence. However as some grow older they will inevitably be called back to Europe and the War.
The difficult post-war years see Noël struggle to make the orphanage solvent and successful once again. There will be more problem children, monstrous staff and glamorous fundraisers before Noël can finally hand over the reins to his young protégé, Richard Attenborough.
This is a timeless story of altruism, family, love and home.
"This is a whole, new side to Noel Coward.
A very moving and inspiring story about a man who never ceases to surprise and delight."
- ALISTAIR MCGOWAN
"WHAT A CAST, WHAT A STORY, WHAT A TREAT!
An insight into a part of Coward’s life we didn’t know.
Moving, marvellous … masterly."
- GYLES BRANDRETH