A cast of brave women at Levin Little Theatre have broken down barriers to bare (almost) all on stage.
And just like true story behind 'Calendar Girls', the Levin Little Theatre cast were forced to confront the same social and personal dilemmas as the real life characters they depict.
Director Sonya Grimpstrup said while the cast knew what they were in for, there was nothing to stop nerves creeping in before every performance.
And just like the women from Knapeley Village in Yorkshire, they help each other overcome those nerves by calling on one of the play's key themes - support.
"They're definitely nervous, but what gets them through is the spirit of friendship and the support they give each other," she said.
"They should be so proud - every one of them."
The play lends itself to incredibly deep and tender moments, brilliantly portrayed by the cast. Some in the audience could be seen wiping away tears during the more intimate scenes.
Grimstrup said the theme of people supporting one another through tough times, like losing a loved one to cancer, was what the play was really about.
"That's the crux of it. When someone is dying they're worried about who they leave behind. Who are they going to have support them? Are they going to be okay?" she said.
Grimstrup picked up the play only at the suggestion of co-directer Val Franklin. One read and she was hooked.
"The under stories are beautiful," she said.
One of the play's main characters threatened to pull out due to "naked fear", only to confront her own insecurities if it meant supporting a friend.
"There are lots of beautiful little messages about life itself and our own insecurities," she said.
The 'Calendar Girls' story centres around a Women's Institute whose middle-aged members fundraise each year by selling calendars, with modest sales.
So they decide to jazz things up with tasteful photos of an ordinary day, whether it be painting, gardening, knitting, playing piano, or pouring a cup of tea.
Annie (Ella Kahu) has just lost her husband John (Les Frost) and the story is centered on how the group rallies around in support.
They were aiming to raise £580 for a couch at the hospital wing from calendar sales.
Nothing could have prepared them for what was about to happen. At last count they had raised more than £3 million. Their story was made into movie.
Grimstrup said the play came with a stern warning from playwright Tim Firth not to cross the line. An accidental glimpse of anything taboo would be artistically disastrous.
Anything that slips would ruin the ambience of the experience.
"He said whatever you do - don't cross the line. If there's a slip up it destroys the whole thing," she said.
"It's strictly art."
They went to great lengths during rehearsal to make sure everyone was comfortable and everything was tight so they could have total confidence in each other that the line would not be crossed.
Cast member Kimberley Stevenson, who plays lovable Ruth, said the anxiety was real.
Stevenson said the directors had done a fine job in ensuring everyone was comfortable by leaving the "photo shoot" scene to last and initially holding closed shop rehearsals.
"As a group we have become so close. Everyone is watching out for each other on stage. It's a group effort and it's reassuring each other every night that 'we can do this'," she said.
"We have such a tight connection up there. We really want to make the women (from Knapeley Village) proud and do it right because it's such an important story, so from there we just go out and have fun."
"It's very emotional and we all just want to do the best by each character. Everyone involved is so supportive of each other."
"It's total teamwork."
In a case of life imitating art - imitating life - the Levin Little Theatre has released its very own 'Calendar Girls' calendar, complete with a photo for each month from January to December.
At $20 each, the proceeds of sales would go towards Leukemia and Blood Research NZ.
Stage manager Nicola Reeves said originally they ordered 20 calendars to be used as props. But inquiries for more were coming thick and fast.
Demand was hard to predict, so orders could be made to Levinlittletheatre@gmail.com.
Cast and crew were doing their bit to fundraise with different ventures. Libby Bruhn (Celia) is an artist and has a painting of sunflowers for sale with proceeds going to cancer research.
Grimstrup runs Western House catering that will donate a percentage of profit from the pre-show three course meals, while Stevenson is creating diamond art
They were also selling raffles tickets, too, to raise money for cancer.
'Calendar Girls' continues at Levin Little Theatre with Friday, Saturday and Sunday showings until May 1.