CUP of tea in hand and the school run complete, Anna Jane-Casey is home after a month of ‘going nude’ and enjoys the rare opportunity to sit down and reflect.

The mother of two girls has returned from seven weeks of performances of Calendar Girls in Leeds, Canterbury and Edinburgh to enjoy a long weekend at home in Kent.

The stage production, which comes to Llandudno later this month, is a spin-off from the 2003 film of the same name starring Helen Mirren and Julie Walters, based on the real-life story of a group of Women’s Institute members in Yorkshire who in 1999 posed nude for a charity calendar.

“The kids (aged 11 and six) just take us being away in their stride. It is more myself and husband (Graham MacDuff) that find it difficult not being home,” Jane-Casey says.

The West End actress believes older women still need encouragement to remain positive about their body image.

“It is a celebration of women and women of a certain age,” Jane-Casey says.

In the play, she stars as Angela Baker (Annie), whose husband died from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 1998.

Her friends began to raise money for the visitors’ lounge in the hospital where he was treated and decided upon a nude calendar, first having to convince the local WI that it is a good idea.

Little did they expect to attract the attention they did, leading to nationwide media coverage, a trip to the US for an interview with Jay Leno, as well as the film and theatre productions. They would eventually raise a total of £6 million for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.

“We are carrying on their legacy,” Jane-Casey says.

“It is still controversial to some people to see over 40s without clothes. We are all used to ‘page three’ twentysomethings like Justin Bieber with his ‘abs’, but once you have wrinkles, a baby or stretch marks, your body is not accepted.

“We do not get fully nude – you’d wear less clothes on your holidays! But it’s what we don’t reveal that is funny.

“We’ve had comments from many women that have seen the play to say that it helped them.”

All the proceeds from the play are donated to the leukaemia and lymphoma charity, now called Bloodwise, and the cast, which includes Denise Welch and Fern Britton, collect money from the audience after their performances.

The original Calendar Girls have seen the play and met the cast.

Jane-Casey says: “It’s strange to play someone that is still alive. Normally your character is fictional or dead.

“I have met Angela many times and I’ve said if there’s anything I’m not doing right with her character, then she should let me know.”

The play is different from anything Jane-Casey has been involved in before, having appeared in ‘jazz hands’ American musicals such as Chicago and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat.

Jane-Casey feels the Calendar Girls series is “distinctly British” and it is “great to emphasise the ‘northernness’ of our accents”.

“You would think that it might be less well received in somewhere like Canterbury than Leeds, but every crowd has been phenomenal,” she adds.

When asked if she considers the play feminist, Jane-Casey says: “Yes, absolutely. I feel strongly about that. I don’t want to ram it down people’s throats, but the Calendar Girls showed the strengths and achievements of women when they come together.”

The show will be run at Venue Cymru, Llandudno from Tuesday, October 23 until Saturday, October 27. Ticket prices range from £21.50 to £49. All shows start at 7.30pm.

For more information, go online at or tele[hone 01492 872000.