FOR the second time in just a few weeks, north ladies are turning themselves into Calendar Girls to present the stage version of the true life tale.
Next week it will be the turn of the women of the Florians Drama Club in Inverness to let go of their inhibitions and take on a mildly risqué modelling assignment as they retell the story of the Yorkshire Women’s Institute members who stripped off to raise money with a charity calendar.
Taking charge is director Claire Cameron, who admitted she jumped at the chance to direct Tim Firth's hit play.
"A challenge to work with 14 of a cast, to get life, movement, fun and emotion onto my stage," she said.
"I’ll be so happy if my audiences leave the theatre having both laughed and cried."
It also allowed her to put her professional experience to good use for the amateur drama company.
"In the past I was a visual manager for years with House of Fraser — that’s window display," she explained.
"Here was my chance to create ‘displays’ of six Calendar Girls in the ‘photo shoot’ scene without causing embarrassment both to cast and audience in using carefully positioned props.
"That scene was such fun to rehearse, the girls loved it — but we banned the boys from rehearsals that night."
The real life Calendar Girls had a modest aim of raising enough money to buy a couch for a local hospital’s cancer unit, but following worldwide interest far exceeded that to raise over £3 million for the Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.
The Florians are also playing their part in the fight against cancer and proceeds of their play will go to supporting the work of MacMillan Cancer Support nurses.
"We lost a former club president Biddy MacBean to cancer in February this year and this was her chosen charity," Cameron said.
Cast member Des Devine is going even further.
He plays John, whose terminal illness inspires wife Annie (played in the Florians’ version by Caroline Nicol) to go ahead with their unorthodox scheme.
Des, whose real life wife Sasha also plays one of the Calendar Girls, is having his head shaved for the part and is also donating the money he raises doing this to MacMillan.
It will be added to the money raised by the play’s six day run, which begins on Monday.
"Most members in our Calendar Girls have lost a relative or close friend to cancer," Cameron said.
"This is for them."
• Calendar Girls by Tim Firth, directed by Claire Cameron, runs from Monday 16th to Saturday 21st September starting at 7.30pm plus Saturday matinee at 2.30pm in the Florians Theatre, Bught Drive, Inverness. Tickets £10 adults, £5 under 16s. Tickets available on-line at http://www.nodaboxoffice.co.uk