WINCHESTER — Calendar Girls by Tim Firth is based on the true story of a group of middle aged Women’s Institute members in Britain who posed nude for a calendar in the 1990s to raise money for charity. The calendar proved to be an overwhelming success and also made minor celebrities of the women who posed for it. This novel idea continues to inspire groups world-wide and has raised millions of dollars for cancer research. The story was also dramatized in a very popular movie in 2003 and its stage adaptation has played world-wide to great acclaim. Local theatre group, the Dundas Country Players, will bring this heart-warming tale to the stage at the Old Town Hall in Winchester on Nov. 18, 19, 20, 25, 26 and 27.
The heart of the story is one experienced by countless people worldwide who have been touched by terminal illnesses. When Annie’s husband dies of leukemia, she and her friends from a small town Women’s Institute set out to raise funds for a new settee at the local hospital’s waiting room. The group decides to pose for the camera completely in the buff, shielded only by strategically placed props such as jars of jams, baked goods, flower arrangements, knitting, etc. When the news of the women’s irreverent venture spreads like wildfire, the women find themselves exposed in ways they hadn’t anticipated, and they reach for a new level of understanding and friendship.
“This is essentially a story about loss, support and camaraderie”, commented director Tony Glen. “There are many funny one-liners interspersed with poignant moments. The play makes you laugh, it makes you cry, and it leaves you feeling better about life than you did when you entered the theatre.”
Co-director Elizabeth Barton was adamant that Dundas County Players should continue the fundraising tradition associated with the play and spearheaded the theatre group’s own version of a calendar. “We’ve received lots of support from local sponsors for this worthwhile project” said Barton, “They have contributed to the printing of our calendar which is now for sale. All proceeds will go to the WDMH Foundation Cancer Care Fund.” Calendars are $20 and are available online at dcplayers.ca or at the theatre at show times.
Performances will take place on Nov. 18, 19, 20, 25, 26 and 27 at the Old Town Hall at 478 Main Street in Winchester. Evening performances start at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, Nov. 18, 19, 25 and 26. There’ll be a 2 p.m. matinee on Sundays, Nov. 20 and 27. New this fall is a dinner/show combo on Friday, Nov. 25 at Cup of Jo’s in Winchester for $30, reservation required (5:30dinner, 7:30 show). Cup of Jo’s is located at 515 Main Street in Winchester.
Tickets are $15 for adults ($10 for youths 18 and under) and are available through Paypal at dcplayers.ca, by contacting the DCP Ticket Line at 613-297-0097 or in person at CJAM Fashion Boutique in Winchester (493 Main St. East). The dinner/show combo and the fundraising calendar are also available for online purchase.
The Dundas County Players Theatre Society is a community volunteer organization that promotes theatre arts in Dundas County. For the past 20 years, Dundas County Players has been providing quality entertainment including plays, children’s summer workshops, and cabarets.