Tip Top Productions set for Storyhouse debut

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Rehearsals are underway as a popular local theatre company prepares to take to the stage at Storyhouse in Chester for the first time with a musical version of a much loved film and stage play.

Tip Top Productions, previously based at The Forum Studio Theatre in Chester city centre will stage “Calendar Girls The Musical” at Storyhouse from Thursday 21st – Saturday 23rd July at 7.30pm. There will also be a Matinee performance at 2.30pm on Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd July.  Most recently, the Wrexham based community theatre company staged a critically acclaimed production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s smash hit musical “CATS” at Theatr Clwyd near Mold.

Written by Tim Firth with music by Take That star Gary Barlow, “Calendar Girls the Musical” is based on the inspirational true story of a group of women, all members of the Women’s Institute in a small Yorkshire village who following the death of a much-loved husband, decide to blow away all preconceptions of what it is to be in the WI by doing an artistic nude calendar to raise money for charity. Upturning preconceptions is a dangerous business and none of them expect the emotional and personal ramifications, but gradually, the making of the fabulous and funny calendar brings each woman unexpectedly into flower. 

Since the story of the original “Calendar Girls” was turned in to a record breaking movie back in 2003, it has launched a global phenomenon including a million copycat calendars, a stage play and now a musical and every performance continues to add to the millions already raised for charity and also prove that there is no such thing as an ordinary woman.

The show will be directed for Tip Top Productions by the company’s founder Peter Swingler OBE, assisted by Rhian Lyon and musical director Simon Phillips. 

Speaking about the show Peter said “I first saw this show at the Lowry before it went into the West End and I found the mixture of tears and giggles along with fantastic music by Gary Barlow irresistible.  Our talented cast of 18 features 6 brave actresses, Clare Thompson, Helen Lacey, Rachael Sumner, Hilary Wiseman, Sandra Jones and Zillah Edwards who are willing to appear clothe-less during a scene in which photographer Lawrence (played by Tip Top’s Finn Hibbert) coaxes the Calendar Girls to appear nude set against typical WI items such as cakes, jam and of course buns! Thanks to my co-director Rhian, rehearsals for “the big scene” have been handled sensitively so that the ladies were put very much at ease”. 

Peter added, “Following 12 very happy years at the former Chester Gateway Theatre, entertaining audiences at The Forum Studio Theatre, we are absolutely thrilled to be taking to the stage at Storyhouse for the very first time.”

​Full details of “Calendar Girls the Musical” can be found at www.storyhouse.com where tickets can be booked online.

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