• Newsletter
    • About our meetings
    • Let's Be Facebook Friends
    • Follow WISH Tweets
    • What we are reading
    • Our 2016 Plans

The Girls at The Lowry

A cold January night saw the ladies of WISH, in an audience of like minded ladies, watching a new and exciting production of the film/show that undoubtedly did for the WI what Mickey Mouse did for Walt Disney.

I am of course talking about The Girls. An updated and refreshed version of The Calendar Girls, which I am sure you all know is based on the true story of Knapley WI, Yorkshire who stripped off to make a calendar to raise enough money to buy a settee for their local hospital.  This, of course, they achieved along with enough money to build a new wing at the hospital and plenty more.

The Girls Lowry Salford


The show did not disappoint – The music was written by the golden boy of the music scene, Gary Barlow,( unfortunately we missed his appearance on stage, by about 4 days!)

The music in the main was a narrative, in much the same vein as Les Mis. Songs that told the story, rather than random dittys. Very catchy songs but not too syrupy and twee.  The story was updated and rewritten by the original playwright Tim Firth, and a magnificent job he did.  An extra layer was added with the teenager children of the members, and also their husbands being more than just background material. Adding much to the plot and lending more empathy for the women.

It was a show that built up and up, there were tears and laughter throughout.  The pinnacle of the performance was of course the making of the calendar.  The ladies, who were all fantastic actors and had the bodies of “real” women, stripped of to and bared all, to loud cheers and applause from the audience.  It says a lot for the production that this was not in the least bit gratuitous or sleazy, but uplifting and brave.  There was nothing about the production that I did not enjoy, the scenery was different and interesting, the acting fabulous and believable.  The Lowry is a lovely theatre and we were sat in the front of the stalls and had a great view.

The Girls Gary Barlow

This is a new production, first seen in Leeds at the end of 2015 and hopefully moving to The West End later this year.  I think it will thrill audiences for a long while to come.

My thoughts are that they raised much more than money. They raised the profile of The WI and brought life back to it, many seeing it with fresh eyes. I am not sure that many of our members have come along expecting to strip, but many are game for new experiences and challenges.

The Girls are showing at The Lowry until 30 January 2016. For tickets and more information visit here

Back to Top Contact Us Share on Facebook Tweet this Post Email to a Friend

WISH & The Dirty Rotten Scoundrels


On the 7th July a group of us set off to see the opening night of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels at the Liverpool Empire and we were in for a treat! I had seen the original film way back in 1988, starring Michael Caine and Steve Martin, and remembered a slick, witty, laugh-out-loud comedy, so I was keen to see how the musical version would compare – it did not disappoint! The musical is a funny, lavish, beautifully staged romp with plenty of razzle-dazzle which we all enjoyed.

Set on the French Riviera in stylish Beaumont-sur-Mer, Lawrence Jamieson is a charming, sophisticated British con artist whose aim is to separate wealthy females from their money. He is assisted in his endeavours by his manservant, Andre, and he enjoys a lavish lifestyle, living off the fruits of his deceptions, until American hustler, Freddy Benson, arrives on the scene. The two are determined to outwit each other and eventually compete to swindle American heiress, Christine Colgate, out of her fortune – but is she all she seems?

The production stars Michael Praed as Lawrence (Robin Hood, Robin of Sherwood) and Noel Sullivan as Freddy, with the wonderful Mark Benton playing Andre. However, for one of our group, Hillary, the star of the show has to be Carley Stenson (Steph, Hollyoaks) as the feisty American heiress, Christine Colgate. Hillary is a friend of Carley’s sister, and remembers Carley as a fifteen year old who used to help her sister run step classes! Hillary was thrilled to have the opportunity to watch Carley perform on stage.

The musical is a wonderful escape to another time and another place. Many thanks to Sue for organising the trip – especially the fantastic seats!

Many Thanks to Teresa for this brilliant write up of her theatre visit!

Back to Top Contact Us Share on Facebook Tweet this Post Email to a Friend

When WISH went to the Royal Garden Party

Last month, ladies from every WI in the country descended on Buckingham Palace to attend a special Royal Garden Party, hosted by Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall to mark the Centenary of the WI. One of our members, Teresa was lucky enough to have one of the golden tickets and has kindly told us all about her day:

Royal Garden Party Invitation

Attending the WI Royal Garden Party was a wonderful, once in a lifetime experience which I will never forget. I met some amazing ladies from all around the country – some who, like me, had only been WI members for a couple of years, while others had been involved for over forty years. Most of our conversations took place in the queue to get into the Palace which, although it took over an hour, was a very good humoured affair, if a little windy at times!

Outside Buckingham PalaceThe queue

Photos were not allowed inside the palace so all of mine were taken while queuing. Everyone had to show ID, which explains the long wait, but we were all too excited to notice the time.

Handing over the ticketLooking glam

Once through the Palace rooms, we found ourselves looking down onto the lawns from a beautiful terrace. It was just a sea of colourful hats and fascinators, with the striking outfits of the Yeomen of the Guard dotted around. We managed to see each member of the Royal party as they made their way down to the Royal Tea Tent: Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, Princess Alexandra and the Duchess of Gloucester. They spent time chatting to people and each of them seemed warm and friendly. The biggest cheer of all, though, was saved for the Calendar Girls as they also made their way to the Royal Tent.

We're going in!

The rest of us were content with the Main Tea Tent, which did not disappoint: a fabulous array of tiny cakes and pastries, plus finger sandwiches of course – delicious! Time flew by and it was soon time for the Royal party to process across the lawns as they departed – we managed to get a front row spec (at last) and were able to get a great view as they passed. Someone near me began to sing ‘Jerusalem’ at that very moment, and soon everyone joined in – I found it extremely emotional and felt an incredible bond towards the other ladies (all 8,000 of them!)

I loved every minute of my time at the Garden Party and am extremely grateful for the opportunity to be part of such a wonderful event in the history of the WI – I just wish we could have all been there!

Teresa Turton

Back to Top Contact Us Share on Facebook Tweet this Post Email to a Friend

WISH Centenary Exhibition

WI Invitation Sat

We are really pleased to announce that our Centenary Exhibition opens tomorrow (23rd May) until 17th July 2015 at The World of Glass, Chalon Way, St Helens.

We have plenty to look at – Come and find out about the history of the Women’s Institute and of course, what the ladies of W.I.S.H. have been up to since we formed just over 3 years ago.

The exhibition is free to visit (Don’t forget to sign the visitor’s book to let us know you have been and what you thought of the exhibition).

The World of Glass is open 6 days per week (Closed Sundays) from 10AM to 5PM.

For more information, please email wisthelens@gmail.com

Back to Top Contact Us Share on Facebook Tweet this Post Email to a Friend

Book Club – January 2015

Our Book Club met at our new date, time and venue of the 3rd Sunday of the month at Starbucks, Windle Island.

Even with only a short amount of time to prepare, most of us had managed to read both of our books.

We started off with our longest book, The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton:

<em>The Miniaturist Jessie Burton Book Club review</em>

What is the book about?
The book follows the story of Nella Oortman, a newly wed bride, who arrives in Amsterdam in 1686, ready to start her life with businessman, Johannes Brandt. On her arrival, life is not as it seems inside her new splendid home, and her husband is definitely not who she imagined him to be.

What did WISH members think of the book?

Jan – “I enjoyed it but didn’t feel it was as good as the hype”

Helen – “I would highly recommend this book. Got stuck into the story & loved it. Would have liked to see more action from The Miniaturist”

Sue – “Loved it! Started slowly but by the second half couldn’t put it down. Really empathised with the female characters & wanted to know their fate”

Janette – “It started slowly & then got quicker. Didn’t want to put it down as it got nearer to the end.”

Val – “I didn’t love it but thought it was well written. Left questions unanswered at the end.”

Gillian – “Liked the description & style of writing. Thought it started slowly but built up momentum”.

Allison – “Enjoyed the characters. Beginning was steeped in details about Amsterdam, a lot of which I didn’t understand”.

What did we like?
The descriptions of Amsterdam – Some good, precise descriptions – Good Story Telling – Interesting take on racism & slavery & our changing attitudes – The feeling of suspense – Learning about trade in Amsterdam – Intrigue surrounding the Miniaturist

What did we dislike?
The ending (Too many unanswered questions) – Not enough information about The Miniaturist & the reason why she made the figures – Johanne’s behaviour! – Needed to know about The Miniaturist – It didn’t have the drama that the story line suggested. A bit bland – The ending was abrupt.

the good girl mary kubica book club review

Our average score = 4 out of 5

Our second book was completely different, yet still had the feeling of suspense – The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

What is the book about?
Mia meets Colin Thatcher in a bar after being stood up. Deciding to go home with him turns out to be an incredibly bad decision as she becomes involved in a kidnapping plot that doesn’t go to plan. Her mother is doing everything possible to find Mia whilst all the time, Mia is being held captive in a secluded rural cabin.

What did we think of the book?

Louise – “An easy read. Fast paced, hooked you in quickly. Liked the twist at the end”

Helen – “A speedy read. Wanted to keep going to see what happened. Good twist at the end”

Jan – “Really enjoyed it. Was shocked at the ending & how all the different strands were brought together”

Val – “A quick read, easy to follow. Strong with enough twists to keep interested”

Gillian – “Enjoyed it. Fast paced. Thought the characters were sympathetic & I got very involved in the story”

Sue – “Good, quick read. Exciting & disturbing in parts. Reads like its designed to be a film”

What did we enjoy?
The short chapters – The characters & the developing relationship between kidnapped & kidnapper – Characters well defined, didn’t guess the end – The developing relationship between Mia & Owen/Colin – Descriptions of life in the cabin – How the relationship between Mia & Colin developed.

What did we dislike?
Bit too easy the cat was so easy to find – Mia’s lack of memory irritated me – Some inconsistencies e.g. the gun scene at the end – Seems to take a lot from Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl even to the book design

Our average score = 4 out of 5

Our next Book Club meeting is on Sunday 15th March – We will be discussing:
The Farm – Tom Rob Smith
Beautiful Day – Kate Anthony

Back to Top Contact Us Share on Facebook Tweet this Post Email to a Friend