A theatre in Hitchin has turned one of its plays into a book – with sales helping to provide the venue with vital income during lockdown

The Comet: The cover of Kirk Foster's book Smell of Lavender. Picture: Hitchin Market TheatreThe cover of Kirk Foster's book Smell of Lavender. Picture: Hitchin Market Theatre (Image: Market Theatre)

The Market Theatre has published its first novel, written by the theatre’s own artistic director Kirk Foster.

The hope is that some of the proceeds from the book’s sales will go to help the theatre during this difficult time of enforced closures and reduced capacity.

The novel, Smell of Lavender, is based on the play of the same title which ran during the summer of 2018 as part of the theatre’s Hitchin History play series.

Each year the theatre in Sun Street produces a play as part of the Hitchin Festival that has local interest and the Smell of Lavender features many characters from the town’s past, although the story is fictitious.

The story of love and grief is set against the factual events that took place during the summer of 1851, when Queen Victoria and Prince Albert stopped for eight minutes at Hitchin Railway Station, on their way to Balmoral in Scotland.

Kirk Foster, the theatre’s founder and writer of over 200 of its plays over the past 24 years, spent the first lockdown turning this drama into a novel.

He said it has been something he had wanted to do for a long time.

Kirk said: “Expanding a play into a novel allows me to take the stories further and involve far more characters than we can ever fit onto our little stage in the theatre!

“The first lockdown provided a pause on life and so with the enforced break, I was able to finally sit down and write this story.”

For more information or to order your copy of the book, visit www.krsfoster.co.uk

The book’s author continued: “With Christmas coming up, this will hopefully be a great stocking filler and if people like this book I will certainly be looking to turn some of my other plays into novels in the future.”

The Market Theatre in Hitchin continues to offer its recent plays online.

You can watch again – or even see for the first time – one-hander Nell Gwyn starring Jemma Carlisle and recent thriller Too Late.

Theatre managers hope to reopen with their latest Adult Panto in December once lockdown is over.

For more details and to support the thetare, visit www.markettheatre.co.uk