TOP tips from an expert have got the show on the road at a Chester theatre.

Playwright Tim Firth, the man behind the hilarious and hugely successful Calendar Girls, took time out of his busy schedule to pop in the Forum Studio theatre to speak to actors during rehearsal.

Tip Top Productions, the company behind the production, is one of the first amateur groups in the country to perform the stage version of Tim’s smash hit comedy, which launches the autumn season at the theatre, housed in the former Chester Gateway Theatre building.

Cast and crew met Tim, who lives in Alvanley, who gave them an insight into how some of the lines and scenes from the play came into being.

Maureen Tolefree, who plays Celia, said: “Tim said that each of the characters are very different but that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

“He also talked about how the interaction between characters when there is no dialogue was just as important as when there are lines to say.”

Director Simon Phillips said: “We were delighted that Tim found time to come and see us, he was keen to see if we’d had any difficulties with the staging or interpretation of the play and was interested to learn that we are using film projection in the production which he thought would work very well. We had no idea that Calendar Girls has been performed in 20 different countries around the world.”

The story is based on the true story of 11 members of the WI, who posed nude for a calendar for the Leukaemia UK Fund.

It holds the record for the fastest selling play in Britain, following the original opening production at The Chichester Festival Theatre.

Calendar Girls is at the Forum Studio Theatre, Chester, until September 22 and is sponsored by the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel and Spa in Chester. For tickets, visit or telephone 01244 341296.