When Annie’s husband John dies of Leukaemia, she and best friend Chris resolve to raise money for a new settee in the local hospital waiting room. They manage to persuade four fellow Women’s Institute members, Cora, Celia, Ruth and Jessie, to pose with them for an ‘alternative’ calendar, with a little help from hospital porter and amateur photographer, Lawrence. The news of the women’s charitable venture spreads like wildfire and hordes of press soon descend on the small village of Knapeley in the Yorkshire Dales. The calendar is a success but Chris and Annie’s friendship is put to the test under the strain of their new-found fame.
Based on the true story of eleven WI members who posed for a calendar to raise money for the Leukaemia Research Fund, Calendar Girls opened at the Chichester Festival Theatre and has since become the fastest selling play in British history.