A Hartlepool actress will help to bring a little known story of triumph over adversity to life on stage in a new stage show.
Victoria Holtom, who lives on the Fens estate, stars in all new musical The Dolly Mixtures about eight North East Women who toured social clubs across the region in the 1970s and 80s raising over £100,000 for Cancer Research.
The curtain goes up at The Customs House in South Shields tonight.
Victoria, 33, plays Sylvia, an ex professional singer who joins the group.
The Dolly Mixtures have been dubbed the North East’s Calender Girls.
They raised a huge amount of money after one of their members was diagnosed with cancer at the age of just 32.
It is such an honour to bring their story to the stage and give them a bit of recognitionVictoria Holtom
Victoria said: “They raised the equivalent today of about a million pounds for cancer research and have never really been recognised for it.
“It is such an honour to bring their story to the stage and give them a bit of recognition.
“Cancer is something that touches everyone.”
The women formed an unbreakable bond touring the male dominated social clubs of the North East, breaking down barriers and raising smiles, eyebrows and £100,000 along the way.
Customs House executive director Ray Spencer, who is also direct The Dolly Mixtures, said: “These women really were the North East’s very own Calendar Girls and we’re thrilled to tell their story.”
Original Dolly Mixtures member and Ken’s sister Hilda Joyce, who is also the grandmother of X Factor winner Joe McElderry, said: “When we read the script and heard the songs we all sat together in my house listening to the songs and it took us right back to that time and we all started to cry.
“It took us back to the way we felt then and it made me realise, that’s why they’re telling this story.”
Victoria, married to Dean Chalk and mum to one-year-old Oliver, will be on stage again later this year as the fairy in the Billingham Forum’s pantomime Jack and The Beanstalk.
The Dolly Mixtures runs until Saturday, September 3, and tickets are £15 from www.customshouse.co.uk or call (0191) 4541234.