COMEDY star Karen Dunbar says she “couldn’t wait” to bring the Calendar Girls show finale to her home city.

The award-winning musical, scored by Gary Barlow, opened last night at Glasgow’s King’s Theatre with a standing ovation for the cast, which also includes Sarah Jane Buckley and Julie Hill.

Karen said: “I cannot begin to tell you the excitement that I had about coming to Glasgow and finishing Calendar Girls here.

“I just could not wait to get in front of a Glasgow audience, an audience of my ‘ain folk’, with this fantastic show.

“Last night’s over-awing standing ovation proved that I was right – go on Glasgow!”

With a script written by Tim Firth and award-winning musical score composed by none other than Gary Barlow, Calendar Girls tells the true story of a group of women from the Knapely branch of the Woman’s Institute who achieved the extraordinary from the ordinary.


Karen Dunbar to bare all in Calendar Girls

The ladies came together with their local community to raise funds to buy a new sofa for the relatives’ room at the hospital where one of their husbands passed away.

And they did so in the most remarkable way – by baring all for a nude calendar featuring scones, empire biscuits and most importantly their famous plum jam.

“It’s such an empowering show about women supporting women” says Sarah Jane Buckley who plays Annie. “The ladies made this calendar which was the first naked calendar from the WI, all to raise money for a new couch. It was life-changing”.

Is there a special Glasgow take on the show?

“One of the things I really love about playing Cora is that her character is like myself”, says Dunbar.

“Tim took me aside during the early rehearsals and said that he had adjusted some of her lines to suit the ‘famous Karen Dunbar Wit’, so I shouldn’t be afraid to use it.

“He said to me, ‘Cora and you are so similar in personality’.


Karen Dunbar talks of homophobia

“That was a joy. I love creating different characters but to be able to go one step in and bring these characters together with myself made it really enjoyable”.

These brave ladies are baring all night after night to an audience of thousands.

Were there any on-stage mishaps or slips at all?

“Not necessarily on stage – I’m the only character who doesn’t get my kit off. Although I did get my nipple stuck in an accordion getting my pictures done!” laughed Judy Holt, who plays antagonist Marie.

A standing ovation certainly shows that they aren’t letting it get the better of them, but its hard not to wonder – do they still get nervous?

“I think it was more nerve wracking doing the first photo-shoot – it was our first day and we had to just go for it!” said Hills.

“It’s very subtle – it’s more about the reveal”, says Buckley. “It’s beautifully done - you just have to trust in that.”

Calendar Girls runs at the King’s Theatre, Glasgow until June 22. For tickets go to