Calendar Girls

Civic Theatre, cnr of Queen Street & Wellesley Street West, Auckland

10/08/2011 - 20/08/2011

Founders Theatre, Hamilton

26/08/2011 - 27/08/2011

Baycourt - Addison Theatre, Tauranga

01/09/2011 - 03/09/2011

Production Details

ATC Presents NZ Premiere of Hit Theatre Show Calendar Girls

“A marvellous uplifting night at the theatre” – Daily Mail (UK) 

A group of extraordinary women spark a global phenomenon by persuading one another to pose for a charity calendar with a difference!

Auckland Theatre Company brings together a stellar cast led by Theresa Healey, to present the New Zealand premiere of Calendar Girls.

The TelstraClear Season of Calendar Girls is at The Civic, THE EDGE in Auckland from August 10, before heading to Hamilton and Tauranga.

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

Director Colin McColl says he is delighted to bring this inspiring story to life for New Zealand audiences. “This is theatre with a big heart and we’ve enticed the gorgeous Theresa Healey back on stage to head the cast of 14 for the Kiwi premiere of this joyous and uplifting comedy.”

Joining Theresa on stage will be acting heavyweights Alison Quigan, Jennifer Ludlam, Kate-Louise Elliott, Hera Dunleavy, Catherine Downes, Alison Bruce, Rima Te Wiata, Greg Johnson, Adam Gardiner, Andrew Grainger and Harry McNaughton.

Based on the 2003 hit movie (which starred Helen Mirren and Julie Walters), the stage adaptation of Calendar Girlsopened at the Chichester Festival Theatre in September 2008 before transferring to the West End in April 2009 for a nine month West End season. Since then Calendar Girls has continuously toured the United Kingdom and has become the fastest selling play in British theatre history.  

Written by Tim Firth, who also wrote the film’s screenplay, Calendar Girlsis based on the inspiring true story of 11 Women’s Institute members who posed nude for a calendar to raise money for the Leukaemia Research Fund.

Tim Firth has become one of Britain’s most acclaimed theatre, film and television writers. First known as a television and theatre writer, Tim Firth turned his hand to writing screenplays with his first two feature films Calendar Girls and Blackball opening in the same week. Calendar Girls went to number one in the UK and has become one of the most successful British films of all time.

Tim’s third feature film, Kinky Boots (2005), was inspired by the true story of a traditional English men’s footwear factory which turned to production of boots for transvestites and reached number three in the UK charts.

The theatre production of Calendar Girls has been staged in Greece, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Russia, Poland and Germany.

Following the Auckland season (see below), ATC’s production of Calendar Girls will be staged at Hamilton’s Founders Theatre on August 26 and 27, and at Baycourt Theatre in Tauranga from 1-3 September.

"Dazzlingly funny, shamelessly sentimental and utterly captivating … the mingling of pathos and comedy here is simply unbeatable." Lloyd Evans, Spectator (UK) 

Calendar Girls is at
The Civic, THE EDGE in Auckland
from August 10 – 20.
Book tickets at the Aotea Centre box office or
by phoning 0800 BUY TICKETS (289 842) or  

Hamilton’s Founders Theatre
August 26 and 27

Baycourt Theatre, Tauranga
1-3 September. 

Kate-Louise Elliott    Cora
Jennifer Ludlam        Chris
Theresa Healey        Annie
Alison Quigan           Jessie
Alison Bruce             Celia
Hera Dunleavy          Ruth
Catherine Downes    Marie
Rima Te Wiata          Brenda Hulse/Lady Cravenshire/Elaine
Greg Johnson            John
Andrew Grainger       Rod
Harry McNaughton     Lawrence
Adam Gardiner          Liam

Rachael Walker        Set Designer
Nic Smillie                 Costume Design
Phillip Dexter             Lighting Design
John Gibson              Sound Design/Composer
Brad Gledhill              Audio Visual Designer  

One to mark on your calendar

Review by Paul Simei-Barton 15th Aug 2011

Superb cast have great fun breathing life into their sharply drawn characters 

The Auckland Theatre Company should be fairly confident it has hit on a winner with a production that might be described as
Coronation Street meets The Girls of the Playboy Mansion.

The story is closely based on a real community fundraising project that was dreamed up by a branch of the Yorkshire Women’s Institute. The resulting phenomenon raised millions for cancer research as well as spawning an enormously successful feature film and stage show. [More
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A nice play with a soothing effect

Review by Candice Lewis 13th Aug 2011

When I saw Calendar Girls at the movies in 2003, I was pleasantly surprised by how funny and moving it was. The movie, written by Tim Firth, was based on the true story of 11 women who raised money for Leukaemia Research by posing nude for their Women’s Institute Calendar. The acting (Helen Mirren starred) was brilliant.

The performance bought to you by the New Zealand cast starts off in a rather hammy and awkward fashion. There are moments when you know the actors struggle with the English accents they are trying to portray, and the comedic element is sometimes forced and predictable. Fortunately this eases, noticeably once John (Greg Johnson), lightens the stage with his easy presence. He brings the warmth and humour of John truly alive, and we know this is a real person, not a cartoon like ‘character’. 

John’s wife, Annie (Theresa Healey), is part of the Women’s Institute, and with the loving support, humour and vodka supplied by her fellow WI members, decides to honour John once he dies by raising money for a new seat to put in the hospital. The momentum of the play picks up and the earlier awkwardness melts away.

The audience are lapping it up, and the couple on my right are laughing in all the right places. A subject that could have been milked for misery is treated with a light yet respectful touch, and there are moments when my mum and I do get tears in our eyes (my Nanna died of cancer three months ago).

Kate-Louise Elliot is disarming as the funny, talented and believable Cora, and Alison Bruce as Celia probably gives many men (and women) in the audience a nice feeling with her confident and sexy portrayal of the ‘golf widow’. 

Another real treat is the variety of cameos played to comedic perfection by Rima Te Wiata. The woman is a genius. Mum and I also enjoy the transformative journey undertaken by the mousey Ruth (Hera Dunleavy). 

The set by Rachael Walker is a church hall for the most part and gives the play a lovely foundation with dark wood and leadlight windows. Costume design reflects the variety of socio-economic diversity portrayed by each character. Nic Smillie may also have inspired women in the audience with the ensembles sported by the gorgeous cast. 

This is a nice play with a soothing effect, and knowing it is based on a true story just makes it all the sweeter. One for your middle class mum, then take her out for vodka … or beer and chips.  
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News.


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