John’s close shave for Company of Ten’s Calendar Girls at Abbey Theatre, St Albans

John Pyke being sheared for his appearance in Calendar Girls

John Pyke being sheared for his appearance in Calendar Girls - Credit: Archant

IS there a little too much of Calendar Girls on show is the question audience members might be asking?

With the production of Calendar Girls by the St Albans drama group, the Company of Ten, coming hard on the heels of the one produced by the Wheathampstead Dramatic Society, local theatre-goers might be wondering why there are two local productions of the same play.

Abbey Theatre manager Tina Swain explained: “What people may not be aware of is that the amateur rights to produce Calendar Girls are only available for a very limited period, which explains why there have been so many productions of the show recently.

“It also means that once that window of opportunity is over it may not be produced again for some time. I know there are people coming to see our version because they enjoyed the play so much when they saw it at another venue.

Director Andy Mills summed up what makes the play so uplifting: “We’ve all known testing times and had to battle to get through, but what makes this story so life affirming is how out of tragedy, and with an off-the-wall idea, the Calendar Girls were able to make such a huge, positive and lasting difference to the lives of others.

“The cast and I are dedicating this production to all the many people who continue to be affected by cancer.”

Performances run from 8pm tonight (Thursday) until Saturday, March 9, with a Sunday matinée at 2.30pm this weekend.

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To book tickets go to or alternatively call the box office on 01727 857861.

n Company of Ten stalwart John Pyke has suffered a close shave for his part in Calendar Girls.

He has sacrificed his crowning glory for his role as John, the husband of one of the Calendar Girls whose death prompted the idea for the WI’s first ever fundraising nude calendar.

John said: “It’s going to be a bit chilly but I’ll dig out my woolly hat! I’m happy to do it for the authenticity of the role. The play tells such a life-affirming story, it’s the least I can do.”

His selfless act will be sponsored in aid of Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research, the same charity that the original Calendar Girls funded. Money from the performing rights for this show will also go to the charity which will be manning a stall in the Abbey Theatre foyer during the run of performances.