Calendar Girls Cast Interview at Burnsall, See the show at Venue Cymru
GARY BARLOW AND TIM FIRTH’S AWARD-WINNING SHOW ‘CALENDAR GIRLS: THE MUSICAL’ HOSTS IT’S OFFICIAL LAUNCH IN THE VILLAGE WHERE THE STORY BEGAN
It’s a story of shedding inhibitions, real British girl power and turning tragedy into triumph.
Calendar Girls has been a hit film, an award-winning play and now there’s a new musical, with music by Gary Barlow, which plays at Venue Cymru, Llandudno, in October.
The real Calendar Girls story took place 20 years ago and, since then, the group of Yorkshire women who stripped off for a nude calendar have raised a whopping £5million for the Bloodwise charity.
TV presenter and novelist Fern Britton plays the protagonist Marie in the musical. Fern last appeared on stage 30 years ago and she took some persuading before agreeing to tread the boards once more.
peaking at the press launch of the musical, held in Burnsall, the Yorkshire Dales village where the original girls were Women’s Institute members, Fern said: “I wasn’t ever an actress. I did a couple of pantomimes because I was a local news presenter in Southampton, so I was the local girl in the show. To get the call about this was very much off the wall. It wasn’t anything I had ever considered. So I said no!
“Then a week later I got a message from my agent saying that they were keen to have me in the show. Then, an email saying Gary Barlow wanted to have a cup of coffee with me – so what was I going to say to that.
“I’m very, very glad I was asked for the third time and said yes to it. I’m so thrilled. It’s the most exciting thing.”
The cast, which includes actress Denise Welch (Coronation Street, Waterloo Road) as Celia and Anna-Jane Casey (Billy Elliot on tour, Stepping Out in London’s West End) as Annie, start rehearsals in July before setting off on tour around the UK.
Fern adds: “I am looking forward to it. The girls are so lovely. We have had such a laugh already. Of course, I’m nervous, but the director, Matt Ryan, is the most kind, gentle man. When I finally did a read through with them, he and I worked together for about 20 minutes beforehand on a scene. Tim (Firth, the co-writer of the musical and writer of the film and play) was really kind, he said ‘I haven’t heard it done like that before’ and suddenly I had a job!”
Ruth Madoc, the Welsh star of Hi-De-Hi, Little Britain and Gypsy, plays Jessie in the new musical. She previously spent 4 years in the play of The Calendar Girls and admits the story is now part of her.
Ruth said: “This show empowers women. I know the story like the back of my hand, it’s in my DNA. Twenty years ago these women made this calendar to raise money for charity and since then attitudes towards women have really shifted, it’s a very relevant for the now. I’m excited to have another crack at it.
“I love going out on tour, I love the camaraderie of being in a company on the move. I’ve been touring for so many years, the places I perform in over the years become little homes to me.
“Llandudno is one of my favourite places to stay it, it’s so beautiful. I was there last year with The Wedding Singer and am really looking forward to returning.”
Calendar Girls: The Musical is at Venue Cymru, Llandudno, from Tuesday 23rd to Saturday 27th October. Tickets are available from www.venuecymru.co.uk / 01492 872000.