'If Chloe can, you can too'
The thing I love most about life is that you never know exactly where it’s going to take you next. And that’s exactly what I’m feeling now, slightly uncertain and rather anxious as I await my West End debut not knowing exactly what will happen next. Applause hopefully and a long successful run!
This strange and coincidental journey from book to West End play began last year when I wrote the career book If Chloe Can filled with the life stories of some of the world’s most successful women from; Eileen Collins, the first female to command a space shuttle, who grew up in upstate New York and whose parents didn’t have the money to send her to college so she got scholarships and sponsorships to achieve her goals, Jayne Torville who went on a school trip to the ice rink and went on to become the UK’s most accomplished ice skater, Duffy who grew up above a pub but who wanted to sing, and the best-selling author Jaqueline Wilson who was told ‘people from our backgrounds don’t write books’. In total 50 of the world’s most inspiring women told how they overcame adversity to achieve.
I wrote this book for school girls across Merseyside, a kind of career recipe book that would give young girls a clear set of ingredients to follow, from people they could relate to. But never in my wildest dreams did I think it’d become a touring play with the National Youth Theatre.
So now I’m working with the NYT’s great artistic director Paul Roseby who has led the way in selecting a young female writer, Karla Crome, to adapt the book into a play as well as providing a cast of young female actors. To me this is essential, for if this play and book is to be the start of a ‘girls movement’ about career fulfilment and attainment then it should start with the cast and writer too.
The book and the play’s message is one of triumph over adversity. It’s about fulfilling potential irrespective of where you come from. For I firmly believe and studies have shown that it is ‘character’ and ‘personality’ type that most determine if you will succeed in life. So being resilient, hard working, a team player, having a positive outlook and able to complete a task will determine far more what you do than grades or background will. The message to every girl being ‘If Chloe can..... you can too’
Esther McVey is the Member of Parliament for Wirral West