By Tim Firth. Directed by Howard James
When Annie’s husband John dies of leukaemia, she and her best friend Chris resolve to raise money for a new settee in the local hospital waiting room. They manage to persuade other members of the W.I. to pose nude for an alternative calendar with help from the hospital porter Lawrence who just happens to be an amateur photographer.
The news of this spreads like wildfire and the press soon descend on the small village of Knapeley in the Yorkshire Dales. The calendar is a success however a strain is put on the friendship between Chris and Annie because of their new found fame.
This is based on a true story and has been performed all over the country. It was also made into a best-selling film.
Find out how Theatre 62 supported Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research here.
Photos below by BVF Photography:
Croydon Advertiser review by Peter Steptoe:
“This play by Tim Firth is not a great one as there are many scenes and this tended to mitigate against character development. But it does have that feel good factor, makes one realise what it is to be British and sends its audience home happy.
Theatre 62 gave it full value and the set was evocative of any of the Church halls that I have visited. Also congratulations to Director Howard James on the tasteful nudity which was the highlight of this play.
The death scene of husband John (Pieter Jan Swinge) was intensely moving with his gasping for breath while continuing to be understood, a considerable achievement and Annie (Janet Clark), his wife, showed the value of silence in conveying her grief. To raise funds for a sofa in his memory the Women’s Institute produced a calendar with middle aged ladies appearing in various stages of nudity. Annie’s best friend Chris (Pauline Whalley) was the local florist and together they made a formidable couple. Ruth (Jan Greenhough) was the shy one tied to a husband who erred with Elaine the attractive Rachel Cormican . Celia (Jackie Dowse) made the most of nature’s appendages and Sanchia Leddy as Cora the Vicar’s daughter but a single mum played well on the piano.
Lee Howson as the photographer displayed his embarrassment when discovering he was photographing nude his primary school teacher Jessie (Joan Hedley) . Lynn Rushby was Marie the Chair of the WI and a sort of female Mainwaring from Dad’s Army. Jan Stockwell made the most of her one dimensional character Lady Cravenshire as did Richard Trantom as the florist and husband of Chris.
Sometimes the northern accents interfered with comprehension but I, like the rest of the audience, went home happy.”
Annie Janet Clark
Chris Pauline Whalley
Cora Sanchia Leddy
Jessie Joan Hedley
Celia Jackie Dowse
Ruth Jan Greenhough
Marie Lynn Rushby
Brenda Hulse/Lady Cravenshire Jan Stockwell
John Pieter Swinge
Rod Richard Trantom
Lawrence/Liam Lee Howson
Elaine Rachel Cormican
Director Howard James
Set Design Adrian Pope
Lighting Andrew Herbert
Sound Ian James
Stage Director John Heather
Set Construction Members of T62
Stage Manager Liane Marchant
Asst Stage Manager Katherine Whalley
Technical Programming Jon Lewis
Piano recordings Bernard John
Props Lynne Craig, Nikki Wilkinson, Maggie Hoyle, Ann Herbert
Wardrobe Emma Kerby-Evans, Valerie Polydorou, the cast
Prompt Beryl Neal, Katherine Whalley
House Manager John Heather
Refreshments Audrey Knighton
Raffle Lynne Craig, Liane Marchant, Tricia Melluish
Box Office Margaret Uzzell
Poster/Programme Design Graham Copeland
Programme Editor John Guttridge