Calendar Girls bare it all

The lovely ladies of Calendar Girls made their entrance down the centre court escalator at the Peter Pond Mall on Sunday afternoon, adorned in their plush white bathrobes and nothing else.

They smiled, they waved, and made their way through the throng of people who had gathered to watch the action on a busy shopping day.  The brave souls - Jenny, Sonjia, Michelle, Amanda, Ruth and Terri - lined up in front of the Calendar Girls photo wall, turned around, and dropped their just south of their shoulders.

On the one hand, The Big Reveal was a great promotion for Keyano Theatre Company's production of Calendar Girls which opens on November 23rd. On the other, it was the official launch of a fundraising calendar, taking the premise of the story - fundraising through the sale of a tastefully nude calendar - to the homes and offices of Fort McMurray in support of the Canadian Cancer Society.

Alan Robert, Director of the Theatre and Arts Centre was on hand to say a few words about the production and the fundraising effort, as was Jon Tupper from the Canadian Cancer Society.

They both articulated the deep meaning behind this endeavor and lauded the efforts of the photographer (Sean McLennan), designer (Charlene Haggett) and marketing coordinator (Misty Oakes) for doing a stellar job putting together a stunning and tastefully revealing calendar.

"They officially go on sale right now," said Alan.  "You can also purchase a copies for $20 at Keyano Box Office."

The six ladies in bathrobes were joined by most of their fellow cast members and director Valmai Goggin for a group photo followed by an autograph session.

Misty Oakes with director Valmai Goggin
Patrons and supporters scooped up multiple copies of the calendar and one by one, got the members of the cast to add their signature and personalized message.

Calendar Girls by Tim Firth is going to be a delightful theatrical experience, one that is sure to pull on your heartstrings from what I hear from the actors.  The subject matter, of having to face the loss of a loved one to cancer, is sadly familiar to many of us.  How these characters decide to seize back control of their lives and turn a negative into a remarkable positive, is going to provide an injection of inspiration and spirit to the Fort McMurray holiday season.

Miss June, cancer survivor Valerie Grainger (above right), beautifully captures the essence of her story - and by extension, the Calendar Girls story - in the following words featured on her page:


Took my breast.
Altered my golf swing.
Robbed me of my energy.

But it will never, ever take away my
zest for living, everyday, to the fullest.

I can't change what happened yesterday,
but I can choose to smile today and look
forward to tomorrow.

In the words of Sheila Hahn, sister to Miss May, Debbie Hahn (above left), "when Debbie was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, her attitude, faith and courage fueled her fight against the disease.  She's generously shared her experiences and dedicated time to help others facing the same hardships."

At the bottom of the page featuring Debbie, are the following words: IN MEMORY OF OUR MOTHER, MARGARET HAHN 1925 - 2012.

My heart ached and my eyes moistened as I read these words, and I thought of others close by who have lost parents in recent months to cancer.  I think of my father who is fighting his own battle right now, and the incredible courage, fortitude and hope that keeps him going.

Based on a true story of a group of Yorkshire women who produced a fundraising calendar in which they discreetly pose nude while engaged in everyday activities, such as baking and knitting.  The international fame that arrives with the success of the calendar takes a toll on their personal lives, putting the bonds of family and friendships to the test.

Keyano Theatre Company and TELUS proudly present



Preview: Nov 22
Opening: Nov 23 
Additional performances: Nov 24, 28, 29, 30 and Dec 1

All performances begin at 8 pm

Tickets are on sale now at Keyano Box Office or online by clicking here.


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