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The 39 Steps

September - October 2015
TAS Hoskins Centre
Directed by Neil Horton

Produced by Diana Helmrich


Back in 1995 two writers based in the North of England, Nobby Dimon and Simon Corble came up with a version of The 39 Steps which toured with great success to small venues (village halls and small theatres). This version was based both on John Buchan’s book and on the highly reputed 1935 Alfred Hitchcock film version. An element fixed at this point was the idea of just 4 actors playing all the parts: 3 men and a woman. Edward Snape of production company Fiery Angel then asked Patrick Barlow to adapt the script. Patrick decided that his adaptation would be based on the film rather than the book, as the film is more inherently dramatic. After a tour the show came to the Tricycle Theatre in London in August 2006 and was so successful it gained an immediate transfer to the West End, where it is still running. The show then transferred to Broadway and ran for over two years before moving Off-Broadway to the New World Stages.

The show is very characteristic of the work of Patrick Barlow, who is greatly respected in theatre for his work since 1980 with his own company, The National Theatre of Brent. The brilliance of these shows is often in the creation of a lot from very little, so that with minimal set or costume (or indeed cast), complex or even epic stories can be both hilariously and movingly told. This is achieved through fearless engagement with the audience, and a full embracing of theatricality. (Often things go deliberately wrong; actors come out of role momentarily to give the audience or another performer a look.) This is a knowing, self-reflexive approach to theatre that says “look, we know we’re in a theatre, and we know you’re there, so let’s just have a good time shall we?” This has strong roots in the theatrical tradition, from the comic asides of pantomime

Directors Note

It was a cold Sunday night in wintery London just under 2 years ago when my daughter Rachel and I boarded the tube to Piccadilly Circus (The Eros statue was a giant snow globe) to see “The 39 Steps””. I had heard of it playing successfully in Australia and was keen to see how one stages a play of a famous Alfred Hitchcock film with 4 actors and over 150 characters. Not only that, stage a scene set on a moving train, a chase across the firth of forth bridge and have your hero chased by a tiger moth bi-plane. Well I guess you will see tonight? I hope you enjoy our efforts. I for one found the play that night in London one of the funniest and silliest pieces of theatre I have seen for many a year. Oh and Rachael loved it too1 All this after spending a fair bit of time talking her into coming with me. She liked it so much she has been my directors assistant and memory prompt for some of the action you will see tonight.

My thanks to all the cast for their herculean efforts with this difficult piece of theatre and especially to Diana Helmrich for her support as Producer and Pam Menzies who has seen the show more than anybody I know bringing her passion for the piece to rehearsals to inspire the cast and I to do the best show we can.



Richard Hannay – Howard Randell
Clown 1 – Mark Bourne
Clown 2 – Waine Grafton
Annabella Schmidt – Lisa Quast
Margaret – Tracey James
Pamela – Anita Brown

Thank You

Principal Murray Guest and staff of TAS for the continued support of the ADMS

Andrew McConnell and Anthony Carlon

Armidale Building Recyclers

ABC Morning Show

Production Team

Producer  - Diana Helmrich

Director – Neil Horton

Directors Assistant – Rachael Horton

Props and Directors Advisor – Pamela Menzies

Set Design – Waine Grafton, Pamela Menzies, Neil Horton

Set Construction – Mark Cooper, Neil Horton, Pat Bradley, Greg Quast, Lucy Quast, Mark Lawless, Lisa Qaust, Howard Randell, Milly Randell, Rachel Horton, Bruce

Lighting Design – Anthony Carlon

Costumes: Diana Helmrich, Pierette …. And the Cast

Sound Design – Neil Horton

Sound Engineer – Carolyn Shepherd

Stage Manager - Diana Helmrich

Stage Crew – Lisa Quast, Tracey James, Maree Puxty, Anne Keoghan, Marney Tilley

Publicity – Marney Tilley

Artwork Design – Matthew Whittingham

Program Artwork and Design – Howard Randell

Front of House Manager – Jody Brash

Front of House Staff:

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