AN AMATEUR actress from Ellesmere Port, who has been stripping off in New Brighton, found herself getting down to the bare essentials again in Chester last week.

Sheryl Dean, a member of the Ellesmere Port Musical Theatre Company, had just finished a run of Tim Firth’s hit play Calendar Girls at the Floral Pavilion, when she was asked to step into the breach at the Forum Studio Theatre in Chester after a member of Tip Top Productions’s cast was taken ill.

Sheryl’s role was Celia, played by actress Celia Imrie in Firth’s 2003 film of the play, which tells the true story of Knapeley Women’s Institute members’ decision to pose nude for a calendar to raise funds for Leukaemia Research, after the death of the husband of a member.

Following her three-night run with EPMTC Sheryl, 25, joined her fellow actors in the audience for the Tip Top Productions version of the play, which opened in Chester on September 10.

Unfortunately, Maureen Tolfree, who played Celia in the Tip Top production, had been taken ill during the day on Friday, September 14, and a stand-in, Ruth Evans, was reading the part with the script in hand.

When director Simon Phillips realised there was a possibility Maureen would be unable to return to the role he contacted Sheryl to ask if she would consider taking it on.

Sheryl, whose day job is an administrator for a training firm, said: “The director phoned me on Saturday morning and asked if I could take on the role. I went to watch another matinee and then had a rehearsal with the girls on the Sunday. It was quite a challenge.”

When asked how she felt about taking her clothes off for an audience, Sheryl said: “It’s also quite a responsibility as not only was I relying on the other actresses to protect my modesty, but they were also relying on me to get it right. The Tip Top cast didn’t use microphones so at least I didn’t have to worry about where to put my microphone pack!”

Sheryl, who finished her run at the Forum last Saturday, added: “The Tip Top cast were lovely to me. It was awful that I had to take the role in such circumstances and I wish Maureen all the best.”