Calendar Girls dare to bare

Portchester Players are putting on Calendar Girls
Portchester Players are putting on Calendar Girls
Tom Chambers as Bobby in Crazy For You. Picture by Richard Davenport

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For one year only the rights to perform Calendar Girls have been released to amateur dramatics groups – and, following on from CCADS and the HIADS, the Portchester Players are the next group to tackle the production.

But it doesn’t mean there’s any less interest – the run from tonight until Saturday at the Ashcroft Arts Centre is sold out.

For the cast it has been a nerve-wracking rehearsal period. Fareham-based Jacqueline Arnott, who is playing Chris, says: ‘We have got to the point where it’s really hit home that we’re actually doing it. There are a lot of bits and pieces to it as well, so it’s not just learning your lines.

‘It’s what you have to bring on and when, and it’s important they are where when they need to be! But it’s all good fun really.’

Calendar Girls is based on a true story about a group of WI women who decide to make a calendar with a difference to raise money for charity. The play was even made into a blockbuster film starring Helen Mirren and Julie Walters.

Jacqueline says: ‘When we all first agreed to do it we thought it would be fine and lots of fun, but then you’ve actually got to take your clothes off, and that’s in a small space in front of people you know, not in a massive theatre with people you don’t!

‘But the more we do it, the more it helps our confidence.’

The Portchester Players first decided to put on the production in September, but soon realised a lot of other groups were putting it on so pushed back the run.

She says: ‘We struggle as a group financially sometimes and we thought this would be an excellent opportunity to encourage people to come along and maybe even join the group.

Next year the group will be celebrating its 50th anniversary, and it is hoping to do something special along with a production of Stepping Out in June.

Jacqueline says: ‘It’s important we get together enough money. But we have sold out now! It feels amazing.’