Calendar Girls

by Tim Firth

Calendar Girls had 4 performances about 6 years ago (between the 28th of November 2012 and the 1st of December 2012)

168th production. This play has been specially picked for our November 2012 production at the Rhoda McGaw Theatre, Woking. The RDG committee has decided that it would make a most fitting tribute to Jane Walters who sadly died in April 2011. Part of the licence fee will go to Leukaemia Research and RDG will be donating £1 from every ticket sold to Macmillan Cancer Support.

As this production is specially planned to honour Jane’s memory the cast consists of RDG members who worked with Jane as a fellow actor and/or were directed by her in one of her creative productions.

THE STORY : When Annie’s husband John dies of Leukaemia she and her best friend Chris decide to raise money for a new settee for the local hospital waiting room.

They manage to persuade four fellow Women’s Institute members Cora, Celia, Ruth and Jessie to pose nude for an ‘alternative’ calendar, with a little help from hospital porter and amateur photographer Lawrence.

News of the women’s charitable venture spreads like wild fire and hordes of press soon descend on the small village of Knapely in the Yorkshire Dales. The Calendar is a success but Chris and Annie’s friendship is put to the test under the strain of new found fame.

Based on a true story of eleven WI members who posed nude for a calendar to raise money for Leukaemia Research Fund, Calendar Girls opened at the Chichester Festival Theatre and has since become the fastest selling play in British theatre history.

"It’s marvellous theatre, guaranteed to make you laugh, cry and come out singing ‘Jerusalem’" (Mail on Sunday)

Jane always admired the work of our terrific backstage team and this play also presents creative challenges to them (including finding big enough buns!!) and they of course will be very much part of our tribute to Jane.

Descriptions of the characters are given under 'Cast' below. The first six listed characters are the 'Calendar Girls' - the rest remain clothed throughout......

Application pdf

Download flyer

Click here to download a copy of the flyer for this production.

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Chris - Nicola Anderson

(50’s) You would want Chris at your party; she will talk to people she doesn’t know and generate lots of laughter. Chris is at home in crowds, holding court, being the centre of attention. Lively and vivacious. Without Chris in her life, Annie would be better behaved and her life less fun. The two of them are like naughty schoolgirls.

Original

Annie - Frankie Godliman

(50’s) Annie will join in the mischief but is at heart a conformist and less confrontational than Chris. The mischief that Chris elicits saves Annie from being a saint. Annie will pour oil on troubled waters but she has enough edge to be interesting and enough salt not to be too sweet. She mourns the loss of her husband John.

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Cora - Anne Nunn

(45/50’s) Cora’s past is the most eclectic; her horizons were broadened by going to college. This causes a tectonic shift with her more parochial parents. She comes back to Yorkshire pregnant with her tail between her legs, but Cora has too much resilience to be downtrodden. She is the joker in the pack but never plays the fool; her wit is deadpan. It raises laughter in others, but rarely in herself. Her relationship with her daughter is more akin to that between Chris and Annie. Cora doesn’t need to sing like a Diva but must be able to sing well enough to start the show with Jerusalem and sing snatches of other songs when required.

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Jessie - Gillian Smithies

(late 60’s/70’s) Get on the right side of Jessie as a teacher and she’ll be the teacher you remember for life. Get on her wrong side and you will regret every working hour. A lover of life, Jessie doesn’t bother with cosmetics - her elixir of life is bravery. Her husband has been with her a long time and is rarely surprised by her actions; Jessie goes on rollercoasters. Jessie bothers with grammar and will correct stall holders regarding their abuse of the apostrophe.

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Celia - Anna Beuden

(35-45) The fact that Celia is in the WI is the greatest justification for its existence. A very glamorous woman more at home in department stores than in a church hall, she looks as if she has drifted in from another world. She is particularly enamoured with Jessie despite the fact that Jessie has very little time for the Celia’s of this world; there is a rebelliousness in Celia to which Jessie responds. It is what sets Celia apart from the vapid materialism of her peer group and made her defect from that group.

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Ruth - Linda Russell

(45-50’s) Ruth’s journey is from the false self confidence of the emotionally abused to the genuine self confidence of a woman who is at last happy in her own skin. Ruth is very eager to please but not a rag doll. Despite being Marie’s right hand woman she is desperate to be the cartilage in the spine of the WI – and keep everybody happy. She has spine herself; if she were wet no-one would want her around. But they do, and they feel protective of her because they sense there is something better in Ruth than life is letting her be. They are proved right; at first it is whatever her dominant husband Eddie wants – in the end she breaks away from his influence.

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Marie - Faith Powell

(50’s) Over the years Marie has built her current persona as a defence mechanism. She went to find her OZ – Cheshire – and found they didn’t want her. She came back scorched and scarred. The WI is a trophy to her which justifies her whole existence. There is a lingering part of Marie that would love to be on that calendar. Bossy and controlling she likes to boast to boost her low self-esteem.

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Lady Cavendish - Jill Payne

Lady Cavendish doesn’t mean to be so patronising but the WI girls seem to her to come from another world – the world of her estate workers. When she makes an entrance she must make an entrance! She is dressed to outplay the others and glides in like a stately galleon. Very upper class.

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John - Graham Collier

(50’s - ANNIE’S HUSBAND) John is a human sunflower. Not a saint, not a hero. Just the kind of man you would want in your car when crossing America. When he dies it feels like someone has turned the light off.

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Rod - Mark Humble

(50’s - CHRIS’S HUSBAND) You have to be a certain kind of guy to stick with Chris and Rod loves it. He gives back what he gets and has a deadpan humour which has always made Chris laugh. He drinks a lot but never so much as to have a problem. He would work every hour to make his shop a success. John was his mate even though the relationship was originally channelled through their wives

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Lawrence - Nick Lund

(30’s) Hesitant, without being nerdy. Lawrence is a shy young man with enough wit to make a joke and enough spirit to turn up at the WI hall in the first place. When he arranges the shots he is close to female nudity but sees only the photos.

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Elaine - Paula Foster

A beautician. She doesn’t mean to be so patronising but Jessie seems to be from another planet which her Gran inhabits. Her clinical white uniform and well made up face express the modern world she lives in.

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Liam - Ian Thomas

He would like to be directing something other than the advert for washing powder. He is not, however, so unprofessional as to let it show. We can sense a certain weariness at having to deal with WI ladies. There is a resigned patience to his actions and each smile he makes is professional. For Liam, the photo shoot is a job-and not the job he wanted.

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Brenda Hulse - Lynne Walters

A small cameo comedy role. A visiting speaker to the WI who is less than inspiring on the subject of broccoli! She is a naive lady who knits her own clothes, votes for the Green Party & loves all country pursuits. Very gushing about a rival WI.

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Director - Judith Dolley

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Stage Manager, Set Assistant and Properties - Clare Pinnock

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Set Design and Construction - John Godliman

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Lighting - Jonathan Miller

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Sound - Ian Santry

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Sound design and Set Assistant - Mark Humble

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Production Electrician - Chris Elcocks (MC Production Group)

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Properties Assistant - Jakub Bednar

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Assistant Stage Manager - Michelle Blake

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Properties Assistant - Karen Cooke

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Set Assistant and Hair/Make Up - Emma Dudley

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Backstage Assistant - Anna Foster

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Continuity and Properties Assistant - Paula Foster

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Front of House Manager and Properties Assistant - Kay Frier

Original

Publicity and Properties Assistant - Frankie Godliman

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Set Assistant - Nick Lund

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Properties Assistant - Susie Kimnell

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Publicity and Properties Assistant and Flyer and Poster Design - Anne Nunn

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Costumes and Properties Assistant - Jill Payne

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Set Assistant - Bill Payne

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Set Assistant - Adam Roberts

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Set Assistant - Linda Russell

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Publicity and Properties Assistant - Gillian Smithies

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Set Assistant - Ian Thomas

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Assistant Stage Manager and Set Assistant - Liz Thomas

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Properties Assistant - Nancy Lund

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Properties Assistant and Set Assistant - Jenny Waller

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Set Assistant - Simon Waller

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Properties Assistant - Pauline Walters

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Musical Direction - Chris Winslet

Original

Music - Louise Dangel

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Continuity - Lynne Walters

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Front of House Manager - Tony Frier

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Box Office and recorded Radio Voice - Keith Bollands

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Photography - Alan Bostock (www.photoeyes.biz)

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Recorded Voice of the W.I. Official - Tari More

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Recorded Radio Voice - Gemma Cockrell

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Recorded Radio Voice - Paul Foster