Tuesday, 26 June 2012

And Miss January is.........?

What a difficult task Elaine, Tilley and myself had last week. As is the norm Ken was on coffee duty and my dining room was the scene of some serious deliberations. Tilley had all the shots she'd taken and our task was to whittle them down to a few and then choose the best photograph of each pose. You'd think that would've been fairly easy to do, no such luck, every single picture taken could've gone in the Calendar, Tilley's pictures were unbelievable, the difference that her terrific lighting made without doubt, made every single shot.

 To put everything on a fair playing field and so that Elaine, Tilley and myself didn't get to choose our own pictures, Tilley and myself chose the shot of Elaine, to see Elaine sitting there hugging a teddy bear with an excrutiating look on her face while the two of us picked over her shots was hilarious, too bad I didn't have my camera to capture that expression. Of course then Tilley and I had to wait with bated breath while Elaine chose our shot. Two hours later and after much deliberation we finally had our 12 amazing poses.

And so to choose who should star in which month, our idea behind this was largely taken to make the calendar as interesting as possible, to fit in each month so that it flowed nicely with the month before and so here is the final selection.

January           -     Elaine
February         -     Joyce
March             -     Katie,Jane, Chris, Dawn
April               -     Hannah
May                -     Karen
June                -     Jodie and Sarah
July                 -    Vicky
August            -     Sonja
September      -     Bethan
October          -     Carol and Tilley
November       -     Heather
December       -     The Girls

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Here come the girls.......

The first shot taken on Sunday at our photo shoot, this is as much as you get unless you buy the Calendar later in the year. Aren't we a fine bunch?

Monday, 11 June 2012


Oh my goodness, where to start. 9am yesterday our ladies arrived at the Brewhouse, there was an awful lot of " what the heck are we doing?" " did we really say we'd do this?" But they all came armed with dressing gowns ( we didn't need clothes) food and drink and all with smiles and laughter.

We had a little pre-shoot chat when Tilley explained how the day would go. We decided to do our group shot in the auditorium first so that everyone could get in the mood and help lose their inhibitions a little. Sheelagh, our wonderful make up lady was on standby to start making us beautiful. So, bedecked in our dressing gowns Tilley arranged us and with only a Little Theatre Company programme to hide our modesty Tilley said those words "Ok ladies let's do it, take off your robes", without hesitation every one of us stood up and got naked, I can't begin to tell  you how unbelievably proud of everyone I was, we just did it, posed with our programmes and "Voila", shot number one done. We had decided that I would go first with Tilley, followed by Elaine, leading by example and hopefully letting the ladies know what they were in for. Everyone stayed in the auditorium the whole day and cheered each one of us on as we had our pose photographed.

The poses we had decided on, all based on a theatrical theme looked absolutely amazing, everyone of our ladies totally entered into the spirit, did what had to be done. Tilley of Red Door studios is an amazing photographer and her lighting was second to none. Whilst most of us were not allowed to look at our shots once Tilley had taken them, I did see some of them on the computer as she took them and I was totally blown away by them, her lighting of each shot made them look stunning. I know the ladies can't wait to see the shots but I know they'll be delighted with them.

There are so many people to thank, Sheelagh for giving up her day to make us all look so beautiful with her make up, that was greatly appreciated, Elaine and Caittom Publishing for providing us with Bucks Fizz and delicious wine, Bethan for her valiant efforts with Pimms and everyone else who bought goodies to make our day special. Thanks also to Matt and Ken for their lifting of heavy objects and for all the running around they did to help us. The biggest thank you and I know this comes from every one of us is for Tilley, who worked so tirelessly throughout the day, she's like the Energiser bunny, just doesn't stop and I know that the finished Calendar will be stunning, her talents are endless and we're very lucky to have her on our team.

Who'd have thought that over a year ago when Elaine and myself were having coffee one day and I said " hmmm wouldn't it be fun to a Calendar?" and Elaine say " now that's an idea" that we have actually done it and to raise, we hope, an awful lot of money for such a worthwhile cause.

There were a few little emotional moments yesterday during the shoot when I think we all realised what an amazing thing we'd just done, such a liberating and bonding thing, we're a very close group of women anyway but for us all to do this was wonderful. My huge thanks to every single one of  you who "bared" all and made yesterday such a truly special day,I am so very proud of all of you.

I'm posting this one picture, a sample of one of our shots, this was taken on Saturday when Tilley was setting up the lighting and I volunteered to stand in for the pose, of course lovely Heather was the one who did the actual pose and of course not fully dressed, but I hope you can get a feel for how wonderful Tilley's lighting was.

Now Tilley's work really begins as she has to edit the pictures and we'll make the final decision which ones goes on the Calendar, of course if you want to see how it turns out then you're going to have to buy a Calendar.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Lights, camera, action

Ok well for the moment let's just say lights. Costumes, props taken down to the Brewhouse this morning, Tilley delighted at the stash I brought from Mike's room. Ken and Matt valiantly moved the extremely heavy piano into position on the stage for tomorrow. Tilley has an eye for exactly the lighting she wants and of course lovely Matt, being the technician knows exactly how to achieve that for her. Now I'm thinking, from the pose that maybe Matt would also like to be on the Calendar.

Friday, 8 June 2012

The clock is ticking....

And heart rates are rising, the time for our shoot is now very close and I know that 22 women will currently be saying "What were we thinking?". Tomorrow Tilley and myself will be down at the Brewhouse starting to set things up. I have a spare room full of costumes, props and things that I snagged from Mike's Tardis which I'm not even sure what they are but I'm sure will come in useful, of course my Sherpar for the day will be hubby Ken, without him I surely would not be able to get this car load to the Brewhouse.  Tilley I know will be armed with a car full of lights and cameras ably assisted by her lovely hubby Matt, he's the muscle for the day, ok well maybe not Mr Atlas but when it comes to lights and technical stuff he's a wizard so we're very grateful to have him on our team. Our plan tomorrow is to at least get our scenarios set out as much as we can so that come 9am on Sunday ( I know, I know, 9am on a Sunday!!! thanks Tilley) we can get started, crack open the Bucks Fizz and have some fun. I'll be back after the event to tell all.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Tea anyone?

What a fun afternoon we had at Langans Tea Rooms. Eleven of the ladies involved in the Calendar made it for afternoon tea. The menu is so wonderful there, some had sandwiches, a few had the "afternoon tea" or "cream tea" complete with the most delicious scones straight from the oven and of course copious amounts of tea. What a lovely way to spend the afternoon I would recommend this to anyone.

Afternoon tea at Langans Burton

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Naked fury?

It seems that Calendar Girls is immensely popular, not that that was ever in question, it is an amazing production and an amazing feat for any Amateur theatre company. But I sincerely hope that whilst there seem to be hundreds of companies that are desperate to take this opportunity to bare all and perform, the spirit of the original ladies isn't forgotten.

I spotted this piece online at The Independent. Here's an edited version of the full article published last year:.

Naked fury! Why Calendar Girls are going into battle

Rows and cancelled performances mar the release of amateur production rights for the hit show to raise money for charity.

The tale of Calendar Girls is one of mutual support and female solidarity that brought global fame to the women who inspired the story. But now a war has broken out among amateur thespians vying to stage the hit play, says its producer.

The amateur rights for the play, based on the true story of members of Rylstone and District Women's Institute in Yorkshire stripping off for a charity calendar, are being released for the first time for 12 months from 1 September next year. The producers hope to establish a Guinness World Record for the most productions of one play in a year, with a percentage of the royalties going to Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research..

"There are ladies all over the country wanting to take off their clothes," said Mr Pugh, who did not realise that the rights release would prove quite so popular. He said demand for Calendar Girls was "quite unprecedented": Samuel French has received 302 applications from UK amateur groups, and issued 154 licences. The company now warns applicants of the show's popularity and that other groups in their area may be performing it. .

The real-life Calendar Girls of the Rylstone and District WI posed naked for a 2000 calendar in aid of Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research following the death of John Baker, the husband of a Rylstone WI member, from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Mr Baker's widow Angela, 65, of Linton in Yorkshire, who is now married to the Rev Charles Knowles, was the original Miss February. She welcomed the release of the amateur rights and hoped groups enjoyed performing the play.

Her local theatre group, Grassington Players, of which Mr Baker was house manager, will perform the amateur premiere of Calendar Girls on 31 August next year. She admitted the production might be a "little bit harder to watch" as it would be done by people she saw every day rather than famous actresses she did not know.

"John was well known in the area," she added. "It will be difficult wondering who is going to play him, and it may be hard for the person playing him who lives locally.

"I think we will all feel it a bit strange. It's very close to home."