A group of middle-aged women posing naked for a calendar might not be what comes to mind when one thinks of a wildly successful pin-up shoot, but Calendar Girls at Langham Court Theatre is a play based on that very true story.
Director Michael King says the show, running June 13 to 29, is a family friendly show that doesn’t contain nudity.
“There is the scene where we do the calendar shoot, and in that scene the women on stage do not have their clothes on. But they are artfully concealed by a myriad of items,” he says. “The choreography of that scene was really hard … just making sure that from all angles of the audience the women aren’t exposed.”
Calendar Girls tells the story of a group of friends from Yorkshire, England who produce a nude calendar as part of a fundraiser for a cancer ward at their area hospital.
“The calendars they would do every year were photos of country churches and bridges – they never raised much money. When they decided to do a nude calendar, these women – who are all in their late 40s to mid 70s – ended up raising ($900,000),” King says.
Casting Victoria-based actors in a show in which there would be covered nudity was easier than the director expected.
“I’ve never had so many women show up for an audition knowing that they were going to be taking their clothes off on stage,” he says.
“We had 50 women show up for the auditions. We have nine women in the show playing 10 female characters, and six of them actually take their clothes off.”
The Langham Court production is based on the 2003 film of the same name, starring Helen Mirren.
King says he never got around to watching the movie, and once he was tasked with directing the local stage version, he consciously avoided the film.
“I guess i just wanted to put my own slant on it, and we’ll see what happens,” he says.
The show is being advertised “for mature audiences” but King stresses the nudity is all tastefully covered.
“Calendar Girls should not make anyone uncomfortable. It’s a light, funny show with some very endearing themes in it.
“We’re talking about the loss of life and the loss of partners, but we’re also talking about the goods that can come out of that. These friends went out and did something about it and turned it into such an amazingly good thing. It’s a very positive story.”
Calendar Girls shows at 8 p.m. at Langham Court Theatre (805 Langham Ct.) starting June 13. A pair of 2 p.m. matinees are scheduled for June 22 and 29. Tickets are $21 for adults, $19 for students and seniors. They are available, along with detailed schedule information, online at langhamtheatre.ca or by calling 250-384-2142.