It will be an extra special opening night for Huddersfield Musical Theatre Company when their latest show Calendar Girls The Musical opens at Huddersfield’s Lawrence Batley Theatre next week.

Original ‘Calendar Girl’ Tricia Stewart, whose story inspired the popular show, will be making an opening night appearance on November 9 to support the brave cast as they take to the stage to reveal all.

Tricia – dubbed Miss October – was the driving force behind the original idea for the alternative Women’s Institute calendar which saw ladies of the Rylstone and District WI pose nude back in 1999, raising more than £6 million for charity.

She’ll be meeting and greeting LBT audience members at the end of the show and signing copies of her updated book – Calendar Girl. Tricia will also be meeting the cast backstage and enjoying a tour of the recently renovated theatre.

Michael Hellawell, producer of the HMTC show, said: “After the challenges of the pandemic, we’re delighted to be bringing this musical to Huddersfield and are truly honoured to be welcoming the original Miss October to our opening night.

“After months spent rehearsing, the whole cast has been very moved by the sentiment behind the calendar’s success and are very excited to meet the lady who was at the centre of it all.

Tricia Stewart will be at the LBT to sign her new book and meet the cast

“We hope this comical, heart-warming musical will truly capture the reality of the real Calendar Girls’ adventure and will bring smiles to audiences’ faces by offering an uplifting experience after what has been a challenging time in the wake of Covid.

“This show really has something for everyone and we hope will be a fantastic testament to the brave ladies who did their alternative charity calendar all those years ago.”

The musical, written by Gary Barlow and Tim Firth, charts the true fundraising story of a group of WI women who set out to raise money following the death of John Baker, from non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, who was the husband of Tricia’s friend and fellow WI member Angela.

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The ladies’ heartfelt story went on to become a global hit, inspiring a film, a play and more recently the musical.

Tricia, who still lives in the Yorkshire Dales, said: “I am looking forward to coming to Huddersfield to see the musical again, which in my view offers the truest portrayal of our story. The musical is much closer to what actually happened in comparison to the movie and play, and is always a joy to watch.”

The Huddersfield cast with strategically-placed props

Now, Huddersfield Musical Theatre Company hopes they’ll do the ladies’ incredible journey justice when they re-tell the story at Huddersfield’s LBT from November 9-13.

With a much smaller cast of 20, allowing for Covid measures during rehearsals, the amateur theatre group is the first in West Yorkshire to secure rights to the hit show.

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Susy Hellawell plays the role of Annie, the WI lady whose husband John, played by Jon Crebbin, sadly dies from leukaemia. She is comforted by her brave and bold friend Chris, played by Samantha Griffiths, who dreams up the idea of producing a nude charity calendar.

Elaine Thompson, Kimberley Bates, Melanie Murray and Anne-Marie Senior also star as fellow calendar girls, and the show will include some partial nudity.

Down on the farm

Tickets for Calendar Girls The Musical, which runs from November 9-13, are available from the theatre by visiting or 01484 430528.