Calendar Girls – Why you should go and see it

I was listening to Tony Simon on Saturday and he was talking about the Big ‘C’ and said that everyone either knows someone who has had it or has lost someone to it.

Sadly, for me, this awful illness has robbed me of family and close friends and I hope and pray that one day, a cure for cancer can be found.

On one of my weekend shows, I mentioned a few weeks back about a production of Calendar Girls that is taking place from 12 March in Brussels which is being staged by the ECC (the English Comedy Club)

I saw the film but I’ve not yet seen the play, which I’m told is brilliant, but I wanted to give this particular production a mention because it’s taking place in Brussels and also the date that the production starts, has a particular meaning for me because March 12 was the date my dear Mum died of cancer aged just 59 in 1993 – so it’s 20 years this year since I lost her.

I spoke to Sara Hammerton from the ECC and told her that I was going to mention the production on my programme and she was really pleased – (well, Radio X is here to promote things that are going on in Brussels with a particular interest to ex pats and English speakers) – and I really wanted to help promote Calendar Girls because of the subject matter.

She also told me about one of the members of the cast who had a story similar to mine as she lost her Mum with cancer in 1989 aged 56 and wanted to dedicate the performance to her Mum. The lady in question is Deborah Griffith and she plays Celia in the play.

For those of you not familiar with the story, here is what the ECC said about it in their press release:

“Calendar  Girls

The English Comedy Club presents “Calendar Girls” by Tim Firth, the funny, very moving, but true story of a group of “ordinary” Yorkshire women who did something extraordinary.   When Angela Baker’s husband John died of leukaemia in 1990, she and her friends from the Women’s Institute decided to raise £500 to buy a new sofa for the cancer unit where John was treated.  In 2000 they produced ‘The Alternative WI Calendar’, with pictures of them nude – but with their modesty preserved by homely props such as tea cups and flower arrangements.

Their success took them by surprise, far, far exceeding their target.  To date they have raised over £3,000,000 for Leukaemia Research in England, and yet more has been raised for other charities by others who have followed the lead of these amazing ladies.

The film Calendar Girls, based on their story, came out in 2003, with a cast of famous English actresses, and won many awards.  The stage play of the same name was first produced in 2008 and went on to win the Best Comedy Award ( Awards) in 2010.  It has consistently attracted well-known English actresses, both in the West End and on tour.

The play uses humour to tell the story of deep emotions: bereavement; the breakdown of a precious friendship brought about by the calendar’s success, and the stories of the individual women in the group.

When the amateur production rights became available for one year only, ECC director Janet Middleton leapt at the chance to bring it to Brussels, ably assisted by experienced director Conrad Toft and respected producer Eileen Sutton.

Don’t miss this opportunity to enjoy this amazing play, performed by an excellent cast currently laughing their way through rehearsals.   It is also your chance to give money to a good cause. The ECC wish to remain true to the spirit of the Calendar Girls original intentions and will be donating at least €2 from each ticket sold to Fondation contre le Cancer in Brussels.”

Please go and support this production. If I could be there I would, but because it is the 20th anniversary of my Mum’s passing, I’m doing something with the family in the UK but if you do go to see the ECC’s production, as they said, two euros from each ticket sold will go to supporting a Brussels cancer centre.

Good luck to the ECC and I hope you have the support you deserve.

Dates:  12 – 16 March 2013

Time:  8.00 pm and 3.00 pm for the Saturday matinee

Venue:  Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels

Ticket Price:  €16

To book go to:


Ali B

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