It’s always a pleasure to interview Anna Jane Casey. Her twitter intro may describe her has “wife, mother, marathon runner & stagey bint” but leaves out incredibly friendly, generous and very down to earth.
We sat down to discuss her starring role as Annie in Calendar Girls the Musical written by Gary Barlow and Tim Firth and produced by David Pugh and Dafydd Rogers.
How are rehearsals going?
It’s lovely, everyone is so nice. I know you always say that but it’s so true. Ruth Madoc (starring as Jessie) has been telling us some amazing stories and Fern Britton (Marie) has interviewed so many people and has some tales to tell too. So I’m going to be spending the tour saying “tell me more” in various peoples dressing rooms
Have you seen the show before?
No I’ve not. I saw the film when first came out, but I’ve done workshops and read throughs and it’s going to be fabulous. Ruth (Madoc) has been in the play version of Calendar Girls but she’s playing a different character this time. Sara Crowe (Ruth) is going to steal every scene and Denise Walsh (Celia) is just lovely. It’s a story full of emotions, happy and sad and tells a beautiful story about some amazing women who broke the mold
So how do you feel about going nude?
I really don’t mind, naked I look like a 14 year old boy because I have a dancers body. It might be an age thing but I’ve had two children I really don’t care about getting it all out on stage. You (the audience) don’t actually see as much as you think you would – its more implied that visual. The only people to see everything are us actresses on stage and the stage crew in the wings. It shouldn’t be an issue though, the human body in all its forms is beautiful be it me looking like a boy or the others with huge breasts and curvy hips. Our role models should be real women who look like real women, not heavily edited, airbrushed images.
When we did the first photocall earlier in the year, Ruth who is in her 70’s was the first one to be topless, the older you get the less you care
Have you worked with any of the cast before?
Not the main cast, but I have worked with Nikki Gerrard who is understudying the parts. And I’ve known others by osmosis, my stage husband Phil Corbitt has worked with Graham (Macduff) my real husband
Yes, I’ve met Angela who my character of Annie is based on and Trish who Chris (Rebecca Storm) is based on. We had a trip to Burnsall in North Yorkshire where is all began and met with our real life counterparts.
I wanted my Annie to be authentic but not an impression of Angela so I’ve said to tell me if anything is wrong with my character, if I’d say things in a different way or not say certain things at all.
They have raised, and continue to raise, so much money for Bloodwise. And I want to play my part and play my part well
Are you doing the full tour?
Yes, I think its 19 months all around the country
Are you looking forward to any particular theatre?
Sheffield, I’ve never played the Lyceum but the Crucible has been a very big part of my life. Salford Lowry because that is my “home” town – I think my parents are getting a coach party up to see it. And Edinburgh because its 20 years in August since I got engaged to my husband Graham whilst playing Edinburgh. He proposed in Leith. My oldest daughter is going to see me when I’m in Canterbury too
So this is the second time you’ve played a role made famous by Julie Walters what do you want to do next?
I just want to be Julie Walters when I grow up. I was Mrs Wilkinson in the West End and on tour and now this. I’ve just introduced my girls to Victoria Wood and I’ve had them doing “Two Soups” in the kitchen in fits of hysterics ever since.
How is the Marathon running going?
You’ll understand how busy life is, but we have recently moved out of London to Kent. But my girls still go to school in London until term ends in 9 days time. So I have to get them up and bring them to school in London, then go to rehearsals so I’m having to get up at 5am to run. Its cooler then too. Again I think its an age thing – Sara (Crowe) says she is an early riser and does yoga at 6am. I’m running the Berlin Marathon in September for the Alzheimer’s Society. Once this run is other I’ll be fit enough to do a tour
If you’d like to sponsor AJ then you can find the link here www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Anna-Jane-Casey)
Thank you to Anna Jane for her time
2018/19 TOUR SCHEDULE
16 August – 1 September Leeds Grand Theatre 0844 848 2700 www.leedsgrandtheatre.com
5 – 15 September The Marlowe, Canterbury 01227 878 7787 www.themarlowetheatre.com
18 – 29 September Newcastle Theatre Royal 0844 811 2121 www.theatreroyal.co.uk
2 – 13 October Festival Theatre Edinburgh 0131 529 6000 www.edtheatres.com/festival
16 – 20 October Leicester De Montfort Hall 0116 233 3111 www.demontforthall.co.uk
23 – 27 October Venue Cymru, Llandudno 01492 872000 www.venuecymru.co.uk
30 October – 10 November The Lowry, Salford 0843 208 6000 www.thelowry.com
13 – 17 November Stoke Regent Theatre 0844 871 7649 www.atgtickets.com/stoke
20 – 24 November Hull New Theatre 01482 300 306 www.hulltheatres.co.uk
27 Nov – 1 December Liverpool Empire 0844 871 3017 www.atgtickets.com/liverpool
8 – 19 January 2019 Mayflower Theatre Southampton 02380 711811 www.mayflower.org.uk
22 Jan – 2 Feb 2019 Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Dublin 0844 847 2455 www.bordgaisenergytheatre.ie
5 – 16 February 2019 Norwich Theatre Royal 01603 630 000 www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk On sale soon
19 Feb – 2 March 2019 His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen 01224 641122 www.aberdeenperformingarts.com
5 – 16 March 2019 The Orchard Theatre, Dartford 01322 220000 www.orchardtheatre.co.uk
19 – 23 March 2019 Sunderland Empire 0844 871 3022 www.atgtickets.com/venues/sunderland-empire
26 – 30 March 2019 New Victoria Theatre, Woking 0844 871 7645 www.atgtickets.com/venues/new-victoria-theatre
2 – 13 April 2019 Sheffield Lyceum Theatre 0114 249 6000 www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk
16 – 20 April 2019 New Theatre, Oxford 0844 847 1585 www.atgtickets.com/venues/new-theatre-oxford