Arrowtown School teacher and actress Kathleen Brentwood
says she and her co-stars in Calendar Girls have developed
trust and friendship over weeks of rehearsals to feel
comfortable stripping off for the comedy. Photo by James
Kathleen Brentwood has played her fair share of wholesome
nuns and tarts with hearts in musicals, but the role of Annie
in Calendar Girls
is her toughest acting challenge yet.
''The fact that it's a straight play is a bit of a
departure,'' Mrs Brentwood said.
''I'm usually involved in musicals and that's really my first
love, but Annie's part of the fabric of people. Parts of her
are similar to my own self.''
When Annie's husband dies of leukaemia, her pal Chris (Rachel
Rose) motivates her and their Women's Institute to create a
fundraising calendar with a difference - starring all of them
posing discreetly in the nude.
The women become media sensations, but friendships are
tested, in what has been hailed as the most successful play
to tour the United Kingdom. It is based on a true story.
Mrs Brentwood said her character was ''probably a little
nervous about the calendar, but is buoyed by the enthusiasm
of Chris and wants to raise funds because the cause is so
close to home.''
The six women who make up the core cast in the Remarkable
Theatre production are a mixture of performing newcomers and
Most of them had not met each other before and director Giles
Burton is with the theatrical company for the first time.
''Trust and friendship developed to feel comfortable ...
with each other,'' she said about the play's nude scenes.
''There's an awful lot of laughter, nervous laughter at
times, but everyone said `Let's get into it'.''
The Wakatipu resident since 1985 has taught at Arrowtown
School for the past 13 years.
Her Showbiz Queenstown credits include The Sound of
Music (2012), Oliver! (2010) and Cabaret
(1993), and her love of singing has influenced her classroom.
Mrs Brentwood said she had always loved to sing and came from
a musical family, a tradition her two adult children Finley
and Islay continued in higher education and as a gigging
singing and guitar-playing duo.
''The kids have supported me in all my ventures,'' she said.
''They're excited to see me taking on this challenge and
they're quite proud.''