A NEW play which celebrates the life and trials of a Barrhead heroine is coming to Renfrewshire next month.

Rare Bird, produced by the Soothside Radicles, will explore the story of Helen McFarlane, a feminist and radical who translated the Communist Manifesto into English.

Marking the 200th anniversary of her birth to a wealthy mill owner in Barrhead, the name of the play arises from praise that Helen received from philosopher Karl Marx, who described her as a “rara avis” – rare bird.

After witnessing the 1848 revolution in Vienna, Helen was compelled to become a writer, working for Socialist newspaper The Red Republican under the pen name Howard Morton.

Rare Bird can be seen at the Starlight Music Theatre, in Wellmeadow Street, Paisley, on July 5 and 6.

Polly Cole, of the Soothside Radicles, said: “Helen McFarlane is a local heroine and we thought we ought to mark her anniversary in the area where she was born.”

Tickets for the play can be bought at eventbrite.co.uk, priced £6 or £4 for students and members of the Unite trade union.