Calendar Girls

Jan Leeming

Shoreham 2007

Shoreham Airshow 2007
Me looking brave before taking to the air (and the wing) of the plane. Wow, it was cold !! But the whole experience was totally exhilarating.



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Jan's Blog

Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.


Date: 10th November 2009

We opened on Tuesday, 3rd November to a very receptive audience.  We have a very strong and united cast showing a wealth of talent.  The play is so well written that every actor has a cameo within their role whether that is large or small.  Tim Firth is, in my opinion, a brilliant writer with a great understanding of human nature.

I only have a very small role but am enjoying the whole atmosphere of the theatre. Don't know why but I want to use the words 'Roar of the Greasepaint and the Smell of the Crowd' which was the title of a not too successful Anthony Newley musical following on from his success with Stop the World, I Want to Get Off.  Of course, these days, unless you are doing a character make-up, you no longer use Greasepaint (it used to be Leichner and the Powder in a large tin had a divine smell which I can still conjure up from my days in theatre in Australia).

I watch most of the show every night and am still hugely enjoying it - so too are the audience.  The photo-shoot scene is hilarious.  And what is very interesting is the reaction of the audience reserving their biggest applause not for the lovely Kelly but for the oldest member of the cast - Jessie played so well by Rosalind Knight.  You have the juxtaposition of the comedy and the tragedy and  John's Death Scene is very moving indeed.  My son shed tears twice.

On Monday the 2nd, we moved in to the theatre (the previous cast having vacated on Saturday).  Imagine my total delight and astonishment to approach the Noel Coward Theatre and see my name outside.  I have such a small part, I really didn't expect any such treatment.  But, I am thrilled and, if I never work again, I can at least say I made it into the West End!

Although very grateful for my career in television - for providing me with a living and also a means of meeting and interviewing such interesting people - my first love has always been the Theatre.  In my early twenties, I was doing very well in the theatre in Sydney, Australia and had my fiancée not been killed in a car crash, I would never have come back to the UK.  I loved Australia, the wide open spaces, the scenery, the climate, the openness of the people who just accepted you for what you were (no old school tie stuff - you could do the job or you couldn't)  and the fact that I was working at something I loved.  But Life has a strange way of altering your pathway and your dreams.  You can't fight it and have to go with the flow.

So, even though my role in Calendar Girls is a small one, I'm drinking in the atmosphere of the theatre and loving it.  I have a very svelte suit for my role and the most staggeringly high heels (made my legs look good but were hell to wear)   With the rake of the stage, I felt as if I were going to topple over and when I heard a member of the audience say - oh, her legs are trembling - I elbowed them and went for something lower.  Strangely enough, being more comfortable in my shoes has strengthened my performance!!!!

First Night was delightful.  I couldn't believe how many flowers I received.  My son is invariably hard up and I assumed I'd just get a rather large Card from him.  Well, shortly before Curtain up, he sent me a text telling me to go down to the Stage Door - and there was the most stunning bouquet of Arum lilies and huge White roses tinged with green set against  Eucalyptus, Pussy Willow and Ornamental cabbage - very South African.  He knows I love White flowers and particularly White Roses and Arum Lillies.  I got a lump in my throat. Would have loved to bring them home with me this weekend but I'd never have been able to carry them - the whole arrangement was over a metre in height.

I've already told you in a previous Blog all about our lovely Director and the delightful cast, so all I can say is if you want a really good laugh - and maybe the odd tear - do come and see Calendar Girls. We are on until January 9th.

I didn't take my camera into London with me - didn't think there'd be anything for which I'd need it so I can't, at the moment, show you the outside of the theatre - but will do in a day or two.



Every Monday, I receive an analysis of my Website visitors.  I'm staggered at seeing from where you all come.  I don't know anyone in China, Laos, Saudi or Mauritius to mention a few  and almost no-one in the States but the numbers are growing.  I now feel a responsibility to keep you amused but don't know what the next few weeks will bring as I shall be incarcerated in the Theatre.  Maybe I'll go in early and visit a few exhibitions about which I could write.


Bye for now,  Jan.

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