The Importance of Happiness: Noël Coward and the Actors’ Orphanage by Elliot James is available now. The book is the unknown story of how Coward and his committee of famous actors transformed the austere Actors’ Orphanage (for the children of struggling or absent actor parents) into a place of love and laughter. They survive World War II, financial struggle, problem children and monstrous staff, until Noël can finally retire and hand over the reins to his young protégé, Richard Attenborough. This is a timeless story of altruism, family, love and home.
Elliot James worked on various drafts of the book while staying at Blue Harbour, which features throughout the book. “Blue Harbour was such an inspiring place to be… and I can understand why it was Coward’s most favourite get-away. It’s where he could think and recharge before throwing himself back into the throes of his life”