Peebles Calendar Girls has special poignancy…

Tweed Theatre production of Calendar Girls in September.  left to right:'Pam Graham (Chris)'Katharine Mathison (Director)'Ruth Noble (Celia)'Mary Daykin (Cora)'Ros Taylor (Jessie)'Eva Bisset (Understudy and backstage support)'Anne Taylor (Marie)

Tweed Theatre production of Calendar Girls in September. left to right:'Pam Graham (Chris)'Katharine Mathison (Director)'Ruth Noble (Celia)'Mary Daykin (Cora)'Ros Taylor (Jessie)'Eva Bisset (Understudy and backstage support)'Anne Taylor (Marie)

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A PEEBLES theatre director says his group will host the first amateur production in Scotland of Calendar Girls, writes Kenny Paterson.

The director is Katharine Mathison, of Tweed Theatre, and the show will be specially poignant for her as she waits to hear what treatment she may need for a malignant melanoma.

She told TheSouthern: “I find out if I need any other treatment on June 4 so I am trying not to think about it.

“I decided to do the show before I found out about the melanoma. I think Calendar Girls has reminded me that I should keep trying to raise funds for charity, whether it is a cancer charity or another group.

“I am so proud that we are to be first amateur group in Scotland to perform Calendar Girls, but it is poignant too.”

The cast will feature a host of well known local faces, many of whom have appeared with Tweed Theatre since its inception more than 30 years ago, for five performances at the Eastgate Theatre from September 5 to 8.

Katharine said: “I saw Calendar Girls in Edinburgh about four years ago and thought then that it would be a great show for our local theatre group to perform.

“I never imagined that if we got the chance to perform the show that I may also be dealing with a potentially fatal illness.

“However, I am looking forward to directing the show and I am enjoying the rehearsals and our photo shoots – this is a great opportunity to show that life does go on and can be good despite some of the problems it can throws at us.”

A percentage of the performance rights fee goes to Leukemia Research Foundation, but Katharine and the rest of the company are set to pose for a calendar of their own to raise further funds for a local or national cancer charity, or both.

But rather than the common pre-show fear for actors of forgetting their lines, the ladies of Tweed Theatre are more concerned about stripping off.

“We will have two rehearsals just for the scene where the clothes are taken off,” added Katharine.

“I would not say everyone is looking forward to it, they are nervous. But everybody feels it is a great show.

“My own illness has helped me focus on Calendar Girls in a more personal way and I hope that any treatment I may have will not prevent me from doing a good job as director.

“I have an excellent cast and I think the whole show will be a really terrific experience.”