A PLAY about Anne Bronte which was due to be brought from Australia to Yorkshire has been cancelled due to the Coronavirus.

But playwright Leeds-born Cate Whittaker, who has family links to Rawdon and Otley, is hoping to reschedule performances for October.

Cate, who is the mother of former Home and Away actress Aleetza Wood, is hoping to bring her play about Anne Bronte to Haworth with a cast of Australian actors.

The Lost Voice of Anne Bronte is described as a Gothic tale of torment, tragedy and treachery.

It was due to be staged at the Old Schoolroom in April after a well-received premiere in Sydney.

Cate said the play, part of the Bronte Society’s celebration of Anne Bronte’s 200th anniversary year, would give the writer back her lost voice.

She said: “The young cast are extremely excited to be coming with this moving and powerful story around the tormented, tragic, treacherous lives of the Bronte siblings and the slow rise of Anne from a shy, sweet sickly girl to become a powerful force.

“She shocks the nation in her revelation of wife abuse in her second novel The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, then when the critics try to close her down she comes back with a blistering attack on them in the preface to the second edition.

“She dies before she can publish it and sister Charlotte, fearful of the effect on her and Anne’s reputation, refuses its publication denying Anne her rightful place in history.”

Cate began writing plays at the age of nine and won a place at the National Youth Theatre, but gave up her dream of becoming a playwright as adult life intervened. She married, completed a Social Science Honours degree, worked for an accountancy firm, did a Dip Ed, set up her own pre-school, then had two daughters.

Job transfers took the family first to Germany then in 1983 to Australia, and after daughter Aleetza became an actress Cate began writing scripts for her.

Cate’s last play Forgotten, based on the female convict rebellion of 1827 in Parramatta Factory Prison, was a sell-out success last year in Australia.

Cate has many happy memories of visiting family in Rawdon.

She said: “Rawdon has always been dear to me. My first experience was coming up from my smoky terraced narrow cobbled street Leeds environment to see its open green fields and purple moor beyond, on the tram with its shiny brass knobs at the age of four to see my dear Godmother, who lived in George Street. I remember vividly Micklefield Park and the hot summer day when the shiny metal slide caught my dress and tore it as I tried to come down at speed so as not to burn my legs. I told that tale thirty years later to my daughters when I brought them there each Christmas from Sydney to stay with my Mum, who lived in Little London, on the end terrace below the Princess Pub, where I had a quick beer with my siblings and their partners before Christmas lunch between putting the turkey in and doing the vegetables.”

She added: “I have been in love with the Brontes since my mother first mentioned them to me at nine, when I told her I wanted to be a playwright. Their work has inspired me as a writer but their lives have fascinated me as a Social Historian, particularly Anne and her detailed chronicling of the attitude towards women and particularly her strong sense of social justice.”