Cairns Little Theatre presents Calendar Girls
THE global phenomenon that is Tim Firth's Calendar Girls lands at The Rondo Theatre this week.
Telling the story of a group of extraordinary women from Yorkshire who, faced with losing a dear friend to cancer, persuade each other to pose for a charity calendar with a difference.
Overcoming their initial reservations, the friends drop their dressing gowns, their modesty spared only by artfully placed cakes, knitting and flower arrangements.
To date their calendar has raised over three million pounds for the Leukaemia Foundation and their story went on to become a feature-length motion picture by Mirimax, starring Helen Mirren and Julie Walters.
Adapted to a stage production in 2008, Cairns Little Theatre launches their take on Calendar Girls this Friday night and they are packing their own calendar, too.
Director Lynn Cropp says after months of hard work behind the scenes, the cast and crew is now ready to roll for the big premiere this Friday night.
"I'm feeling good," she says.
"Honestly, it's really come together. It's a big show, it's got a lot of technical stuff to it mountains of props, lots of lights and sound effects, music, everything."
"The same guy who wrote the play wrote the screenplay for the movie, so it's almost like doing a TV show or movie."
Lynn says when it came to the story, she is keeping the story as close to the original as possible except the Yorkshire accents.
"Some of our ladies have authentic accents, but I haven't required the rest to do it," she says.
"The world is so cosmopolitan and a melting pot of cultures these days, I don't think it matters as much. Tim Firth did a rewrite of the script for amateur productions and it did say, don't try and do the accent if you can't get it, it will wreck it. I tend to agree, if you can't do a really good accent, it just ends up distracting from the text and character."
Because it's based on a true story, Lynn says it's hard not to get caught up in the ride of ifCalendar Girlsnf whether you're in the audience, or part of the play itself.
Like the original production, Cairns Little Theatre has also produced its own calendar, to be sold in the foyer before and after the show.
Half of the money will be donated to local cancer charity COUCH, while the other half will go back into building a new rehearsal space at the Rondo Theatre.
"It's been a really moving experience for us all,'' she says.
"You get caught up in the reality that this actually happened. We didn't have to do the calendar and many other amateur productions of the show are not doing them. But I felt we needed to do something to put back into the community and doing the calendar ourselves was in keeping with the original spirit of the play."
She also hopes that the Cairns Little Theatre production will become part of history, with a Guinness World Record attempt currently under way for most amateur productions of a single play in the world in a 12 month period.
"Come and be part of history," Lynn says.
"Last night's rehearsal was really, really good. I think it's ready for an audience. It really does make for a beautifully polished production."
See Cairns Little Theatre's Calendar Girls at The Rondo Theatre, Greenslopes St, from Friday. It runs until November 24. Tickets are $18-$22, on sale now from ticketlink.com.au or 1300 855 835.
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Baring all: some of the cast of Cairns Little Theatre's Calendar Girls.