Calendar Girls team up for a friendly bake-off
September 20, 2012
Flour flew across kitchens, strawberries were squashed underfoot and aprons were covered in sugar as members of two local theatre groups pulled out all the stops for a Calendar Girls style bake-off.
Armed with Victoria sponges and cakes piled high with cream, members of Woodley Theatre and Progress Theatre in Reading joined forces for a bake-off on Sunday, September 9.
Both groups are staging Tim Firth’s hilarious comedy Calendar Girls this month and have put aside their differences to raise funds for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.
“In some sense the two theatres are rivals in that sometimes we try and put bums on seats [at the same time] but we have come together for this and it’s just marvellous,” says Cara Broadhurst, producer of Woodley Theatre’s Calendar Girls. “It had a real village fete atmosphere and there was far too much cake.
“We also had a badminton contest because they play badminton in the show. Woodley won that while Progress won the cake baking.”
Although the bake-off lasted for just an hour the event raised £210 for charity.
The theatre groups have also teamed up to produce a nearly nude calendar, the profits of which will also go to Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.
Progress Theatre launched its show last week and it runs until Saturday.
Woodley Theatre’s production gets underway on Monday, September 24, with a special gala performance for the first night where all proceeds will go to charity.
Calendar Girls is based on a real Women’s Institute group from Yorkshire. It tells the story of how its members decided to make a nude calendar to raise funds for a hospital sofa in memory of a member’s husband, John, who dies from leukaemia at the start of the show.
“It’s a play that really has got a lot of humour and there’s moments were it drops into deep pathos,” says Cara, who also plays Celia in the show.
“There are people that have come along to rehearsals who have not been in all the scenes and they say ‘I was nearly crying’ but then they’re laughing because there’s relief from the emotion too.”
In true dedication to the story, actor David Kent, who plays John, is also going to shave his head for charity, with sponsorship already at £500.
“Everyone knows the story of how a group of extraordinary women, members of a very ordinary WI group, persuaded one another to pose for a charity calendar with a difference,” says Sophie Loveday, regional fundraising assistant for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.
“The Calendar Girls, as they came to be known, dedicated the calendar to John Baker who had died in 1998. They had no idea of the media sensation they would create.”
Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research is the only UK charity solely dedicated to research into blood cancers and their research is focused on finding causes and improving treatments.
Members of Woodley Theatre are getting ready for opening night on Monday, particularly the iconic scene where the Calendar Girls strip-off for the photo shoot.
“There have been some nerves in rehearsals,” says Cara. “They’ll be in the wings going ‘I’m really nervous’ and then they’ve gone out and just done it. I really commend them for that.”
Woodley Theatre presents Calendar Girls from Monday, September 24, to Saturday, September 29 at The Oakwood Theatre, Oakwood Centre, Woodley www.woodleytheatre.org
Reading based arts group Jelly are also holding a special Calendar Girls night at Progress Theatre as part of their Third Thursday events. There will be pre-show drinks and a directors talk on Thursday, September 20. Tickets are £10 and include being able to see the show.