New Zealand actress Marilyn White reveals her process in finding her opposite as Celia in the upcoming show, Calendar Girls.

 How did you first get involved with the Stage Club?
After my first year in Singapore, I needed something that fed my soul and passion for the arts. I saw an audition with the Stage Club and decided I’d go for it. That was two years ago. I landed a role in the production which just so happened to be directed by [director] Susie Penrice-Tyrie whom I now have the privilege of working with again in Calendar Girls.

How long have you been acting for?
When I was a little girl, about five or so, my older sister would make my younger sister and I perform in little productions for our family; I loved performing ever since. My multi-cultural background saw me live in several countries, so the one place I can consistently call home is the stage.

What is the show all about?
Calendar Girls is about a group of women – all very unique and individual, but also similar for their adoration of each other – who are a part of a very conservative women’s organisation. Sadly, cancer steals the life from a beautiful man, the husband of Annie, whom the women decide to commemorate – and also raise funds for cancer – by creating a calendar of the women posing nude while doing everyday things such as sewing or baking. In a conservative English town, you can only imagine how that pans out for them.

Have you all been given the task of putting on Yorkshire accents?
Thankfully, we have not been handed the heavy task of speaking in a Yorkshire accent. Although on saying that, there are quite a few cast members from the UK, so they nearly have it. Sometimes my American accent sounds Irish but I don’t think that counts.

Cast members of Calendar Girls.

Have you ever been involved in a fundraising project as daring as this?
Actually, in a way I have. I participated in two Body Arts competitions in New Zealand which raised funds and awareness for the arts and artists who entered the competition. It was the most nerve-racking thing to parade on stage in front of hundreds of people adorned only in paint and the incredible vision of the artists; but after I did it, a sense of lightness and freedom surged through me. I would do it again – just as I’m sure the real Calendar Girls would create their calendar again.

What do you hope audiences will take away after seeing the show?
Empathy. Each character in the play struggles with something real which anyone in the audience watching can either relate to or understand. Even if it was one audience member who walked away feeling more empathy towards others and their struggles in life, I will be a happy and fulfilled person.

Calendar Girls is playing at the SOTA Studio Theatre from 8-12 March.