Three actors from Cardiff Open Air Theatre Festival’s upcoming production of Calendar Girls by Tim Firth will be running in Cardiff Race For Life on Sunday 9 July. Everyman Theatre actors Pam Chappell Wiener, Lawrence Clarke and Toby Harris from Calendar Girls are all taking part to raise funds for cancer research in an act that is life imitating art.
Pam explains that she is inspired by her character Annie who ‘drops everything for a good cause’ in an effort to raise funds for a relatives’ room in a cancer hospice.
“I’m running in memory of far too many family members and friends, but also for my wonderfully brave friend, former student and Everyman Theatre stalwart, Georgia,” says Pam. “Diagnosed with breast cancer at only 26, she has documented her journey through treatment, remission and recent reconstruction surgery and recovery, becoming an ambassador, helping so many others – she is a true inspiration. It will be fantastic to run with, not only my fellow Calendar Girls cast mates, but also my 15 year old son in his second Race for Life 5km.”
The Cardiff Race For Life takes place in the middle of the Calendar Girls production of 11 performances at Cardiff Open Air Theatre Festival in Sophia Gardens. Sunday is usually a rest day for the actors but Pam says: “I’ve taken part in Race For Life runs before and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to raise funds for a cancer charity when the schedule fitted in with the play that resonates so perfectly with this…though I will definitely be fully-clothed for the run (phew!)”
Calendar Girls director Simon H West says: “Directing this play has been a very happy experience and a welcome change to work on a very different script from the sitcoms we’ve done over the last ten years.
“At first read, Calendar Girls is a character comedy but there are a lot of layers and you find yourself really getting to know these people, and living the experience with them. There have been a lot of laughs in rehearsal but a lot of tears too. It’s very moving and will be a real roller-coaster for the audience.
“It’s also a very technical piece and as well as the challenge of staging the actual calendar shoot in the open air, we have to tell a story that covers over a year in the life of this community without using lighting or effects.
“It’s incredible how the story of these women is reflected in all the people who continue to raise money to fight cancer, not necessarily by doing extraordinary and brave things like them, but just by walking or running with friends and family in events like the Race for Life. It’s to all those people and the ones that are no longer with us that we gladly dedicate our production.”
Calendar Girls by Tim Firth will be performed at Cardiff Open Air Theatre Festival in Sophia Gardens 6-15 July at 8pm and 3pm on 8 July and 15 July.
For ticket availability visit the Cardiff Open Air Theatre Festival website