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West End on Calendar for WI Girls

Published 6 August 2008

Producers David Pugh and Dafydd Rogers have confirmed their intentions to bring new show Calendar Girls to the West End at the end of this year, following its premiere at Chichester Festival Theatre and a subsequent UK tour.

Neither exact dates nor venue have been announced for the West End run of the play, but it is expected to reach London around Christmas, after the tour ends in Plymouth on 13 December.

Calendar Girls is adapted for the stage by Tim Firth from his own screenplay for the 2003 hit film of the same name, which starred Helen Mirren and Julie Walters. In the stage production, Patricia Hodge plays middle aged widow Annie, who is spurred on by her vivacious friend and fellow WI member Chris, played by Lynda Bellingham, to create a nude calendar to raise funds for the local hospital that cared for Annie’s late husband.

Hodge and Bellingham are both regulars on the London stage. Hodge was seen twice in the West End last year, in Boeing Boeing at the Comedy and The Country Wife at the Haymarket, and previously in His Dark Materials at the National Theatre. Her television credits include Rumpole Of The Bailey, The Falkland’s Play and Maxwell. Bellingham was recently seen in Vincent River at the Trafalgar Studios, Sugar Mummies at the Royal Court and Losing Louis at the Hampstead and Trafalgar Studios. She is familiar to television viewers for her roles in All Creatures Great And Small, Faith In The Future and her appearance in the famous OXO adverts.

Calendar Girls also stars Sian Phillips, Gaynor Faye, Brigit Forsyth, Julia Hills, Elaine C Smith, Joan Blackham, Abby Francis, Gary Lilburn, Gerard McDermott and Carl Prekopp. They are directed by Hamish McColl, who co-wrote and performed in The Play What I Wrote, which won the 2002 Best Comedy Laurence Olivier Award.

Calendar Girls opens in Chichester on 16 September, after previews from 5 September and plays until 27 September. The national tour includes one London leg at Richmond theatre, from 24 to 29 November.

CB

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