Harrogate Dramatic Society secure Calendar Girls coup

The HDS Calendar Girls - Judi Kenley, Jenny Humphreys, Gill McVey, Sue Rawson, Judy Methven. (Picture by Michael Garside)
The HDS Calendar Girls - Judi Kenley, Jenny Humphreys, Gill McVey, Sue Rawson, Judy Methven. (Picture by Michael Garside)

The cast of Harrogate Dramatic Society’s next production, Calendar Girls are to come face to face with the real thing next month. The society and members of the cast are holding a special coffee morning in Hampsthwaite on Saturday, August 18 to meet five members of the original Rylstone W.I. team who first posed nude for their famous calendar 13 years ago.

The original Calendar Girls to team up with the HDS actresses will include Angela Baker (Miss February), Lynda Logan (Miss July), Beryl Bamforth (Miss January) Ros Fawcett (Miss November) and Tricia Stewart (Miss October).

Harrogate Dramatic Society is one of the first amateur production companies to be given permission to stage the play.

As the stage version of the famous story ends its West End theatre run in November the original Calendar girls from Rylstone W.I. decided that the time was right to call a halt to making any more of their charity fund-raising nude calendars having raised £3million for charities such as Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.

As a result the play has now been made available to non-professional companies. The move has certainly opened the floodgates from within the amateur dramatic world.

Such is the popularity of the play that to date some 500 applications have been lodged to stage the play, including one from a Little Theatre on the Mediterranean island of Gozo.

Angela Baker said: “We are now getting so many invitations to attend performances from all over the country, we can’t possibly accept them all. But Harrogate is a special place for us. The coffee morning will be a wonderful opportunity for us all to get together and meet each other,” she said.

The face-to-face coffee morning is at Hollins Hall, the late Georgian manor house, now a retirement village in Lund Lane in Hampsthwaite.

The HDS production of Calendar Girls has just begun rehearsals for their performances at Harrogate Theatre which runs from Wednesday, October 3 to Saturday, October 6.

The night after the last HDS performance, October 7, the original Calendar girls are to be fêted at a “retirement” tribute concert at the Royal Albert Hall.