Calendar Girls - 2013

The Theatre club dedicated this play to the memory of Sally Miller who sadly passed away earlier this year. She will be sorely missed.

The publishers released the play "Calendar Girls" to amateurs in September 2012 for a limited period and agreed to pay a proportion of the royalties generated to Leukaemia research. The response to this has been enormous as Amateur Societies up and down the country have put on productions making the play the fastest selling ever in the history of British Theatre.

Taking our lead from the publishers we used this play to raise funds for HospiceCare Northumberland.

It is a real pleasure that in deciding to stage "Calendar Girls" we have attracted back some past members of the club Heather Howey, Julie Vint and Clair Birbeck and seen Wendy Richardson join us for her first production with the club.

When Annie's husband John dies of leukaemia, she and best friend Chris resolve to raise money for a new settee in the local hospital waiting room. They manage to persuade four fellow WI members to pose with them for an "alternative" calendar, with a little help from hospital porter and amateur photographer Lawrence. The news of the women's charitable venture spreads like wildfire, and hordes of press soon descend on the small village of Knapeley in the Yorkshire Dales. The calendar is a success, but Chris and Annie's friendship is put to the test under the strain of their new-found fame.

Based on a true story Calendar Girls has become the fastest selling comedy in British theatre history in part due to its it inspirational feel-good factor.

The director was Tony Neale assisted by David Richardson. The producer was Peter Biggers, and the stage manager was Margaret Neale, assisted by Carol Hawkins and Virginia Mayes-Wright.

Review - Northumberland Gazette

ATC take a bow. Make no mistake about it, there were some really good performances here.

The rapport between the six main characters, played by Heather Howey, Helen Gee, Lisa Gladstone, Susan Smith, Julie Vint,and Wendy Richardson, was believable and fun to watch. They each made their characters come alive by capturing the different personalities of the leading ladies.

Gladstone brought a delicacy to the role of the widow Annie.

Vint was formidable as Ruth, capturing her character's change during the course of the show, from a relative goody-two-shoes and, perhaps somewhat of a victim, in the first half, to becoming a survivor and more independent in the second; exploding at her husband's lover at one point after the interval was a fine piece of theatre.

Gee was formidable as Chris, the calendar's champion who tastes stardom and is tempted to capitalise on it. Gee brought real energy and a big personality to the role.

For all the comedic moments in the play, of which there are many, the show is touching, as it deals with a sensitive subject matter.

I thought the cast got the tone right, striking a nice balance between the sad and the lighter moments.