Mary Noel Streatfeild OBE (24 December 1895–11 September 1986), known as Noel Streatfeild, was an author, most famous for her children's books including Ballet Shoes (1936). Several of her novels have been adapted for film or television.
She was born in Sussex, England, the second of five children of William Streatfeild, later the Bishop of Lewes. Her life is described in three semi-autobiographical novels: A Vicarage Family, Away from the Vicarage and Beyond the Vicarage. Noel was considered the "plain" sister in her family, but she shone in performances with her sisters for charity. Upon reaching adulthood she sought a career in theatre, and gained ten years of experience as an actress, working for the Charles Doran and Arthur Bourchier companies. Her familiarity with the stage was the basis for many of her popular books for children, which are often about children struggling with careers in the arts.
She wrote of her first children's book Ballet Shoes, "The story poured off my pen, more or less telling itself...I distrusted what came easily and so despised the book." That work, however, launched a successful career in writing for children; her third book The Circus is Coming won the Carnegie Medal in 1939.
Noel Streatfeild was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1983.
Aunt Clara was filmed in 1954 with Margaret Rutherford in the title role.
In 1969 London Weekend Television produced a six-episode serial of The Growing Summer, with Wendy Hiller as Aunt Dymphna. It was filmed in Bantry (Bantry House), in Ahakista and near Kilcrohane on the Sheep's Head Peninsula.
Thursday's Child was adapted for television in 1972.
Ballet Shoes was made into a 6 episode television series by the BBC in 1975.
In 2007 "Ballet Shoes" was made into a feature-length film for BBC One (UK). A Granada production, "Ballet Shoes" was adapted by the acclaimed screenwriter Heidi Thomas and starred Emilia Fox as Sylvia Brown, Victoria Wood as Nana, Emma Watson as Pauline Fossil, Yasmin Paige as Petrova Fossil, Lucy Boynton as Posy Fossil and Richard Griffiths as Great Uncle Matthew.
Noel Streatfeild also wrote many novels under the name "Susan Scarlett."