Steph Cade
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“Wherever light is, these flowers will find it”: Gary Barlow & Tim Firth's "The Girls" musical launches

Steph Cade
Posted by
23 Mar 2015

Gary Barlow and Tim Firth's new British musical, based on the famous story of the Calendar Girls, will make it's world premiere in November at Grand Theatre Leeds.

“Wherever light is, no matter how weak, these flowers will find it” (Chris in the Calendar Girls film).

The sunflower is a flower that tracks the journey of the sun across the sky. It has long been associated with the Calendar Girls, the group of extraordinary Yorkshire WI ladies who changed the world with their alternative calendar and helped raise over £3million for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.

How fitting then, that the sun shone so brightly yesterday over the breathtakingly beautiful Dales, where the original girls are from, for the latest chapter in their special story.

Burnsall Village Hall set the perfect scene for the rehearsed reading of The Girls, a brand new British musical written by Tim Firth, who wrote the screenplay for the Calendar Girls film and stage show, and a certain Gary Barlow.

The musical comedy, which Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research will receive donations from, shows life in the girls' Yorkshire village, how the 'Alternative WI calendar' happened, and the effect it had on husbands, sons and daughters – importantly  highlighting the emotional impact of the disease on family and friends, as well as the patient. The play is laugh out loud funny, it’s heart-warming, it will fill your eyes with tears, but most of all it captures the light and love of the girls whom the musical is based on, and brings their utter determination in the face of adversity, to life on stage.

Gary and Tim surprised guests yesterday by hopping up on stage after the show and announcing that the world premiere will take place at the Grand Theatre Leeds from Saturday 14 November to Saturday 12 December. The production will then move to the Lowry Salford from 13 to 30 January 2016.

Angela Baker, whose husband's death from non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 1998 was the reason for the fundraising calendar, said: “It’s fantastic that we’re going to have a musical and great that it is first being shown to the public in the village of Burnsall, an area that we love and is so dear to our hearts. John would have been so proud. As a family it helps us believe that he didn’t die in vain, that he’s been a part of it and with us every step of the way.

"We hope lots of people go and see The Girls, and that it’ll be successful and raise lots more money for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research. That’s what John would have wanted, to help other people who get this terrible disease.”

Cathy Gilman, Chief Executive of the blood cancer charity, said: “It was a real privilege to be able to share this very special afternoon with the girls. They have had the most incredible journey since that very first calendar back in 1999, and I am thrilled for them and their loved ones that their astonishing story will continue to be shared, and that the memory of John will continue to live on and inspire for many years to come.”

Gary Barlow and Tim Firth grew up in the same village in the north of England and have been friends for 25 years. They said: “We are over the moon with the reception our new musical THE GIRLS has had here in Burnsall, and to have received the ecstatic blessing of the original Calendar Girls is something that is so so special to us.  We look forward to its world premiere on November 14 at the Leeds Grand Theatre.”

For more information, including how to buy tickets, please visit



This is brilliant news!

The Calendar Girls have done so much to help us beat blood cancer and I know that the show is going to be a HUGE success - they've already sold £750,000 worth of tickets. Gary Barlow + Calendar Girls is a winning combination!

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