The Tacoma Little Theater — located in the Stadium District of Tacoma — opened their 101st season with the show “Calendar Girls.” Within the first couple of minutes into the play, the story follows six middle aged women with gossiping tendencies and crude humor try to make others uncomfortable — since that was not a welcomed behavior for women at the Women’s Institute at Yorkshire. Throughout the play, the sexual jokes continued — which made the play enjoyable and funny. This continued even through serious scenes, making the situation a little more light-hearted, and not so melancholy.
Later in the play, the audience learns that one of the woman’s husband, John, is diagnosed with Leukemia, and sadly results in his demise. The women are urgent to raise funds for the hospital to buy a new couch by creating and selling a calendar — but not just any calendar typical of a church — they wanted to do one nude. Before John died, he expressed how the women in the Women’s Institute needed to break out of their shells and do more than knitting and making baked goods. The women took this as inspiration and made this calendar in secret.
“Calendar Girls” isn’t just a play — it is also a true story. This story is based on factual events in Yorkshire of 1998 — where just as in the play — the women are raising money for one’s recently deceased husband’s name to get a couch at the hospital. What the women did not expect was the amount of money they would raise. With the first calendar they raised £3 million. They ended up raising enough for the couch, however they also donated the rest of the money into research for Leukemia and Lymphoma, in the late husband’s honor. Women today have continued to make the calendar throughout the years, the last one was published in 2010 and raised £2 million for Leukemia and Lymphoma research.
After seeing “Calendar Girls,” viewers walk away with a feeling of women empowerment — that breaking the status quo is OK, Along with that sense of empowerment, it provides awareness of Leukemia and Lymphoma, which affect so many people in Yorkshire, and all over the world.