Stepping Out - Reading
Stepping Out by Richard Harris
Director: Mandy Stenhouse
Reading: Sunday 5th November, 6.00 pm (Foyer)
Audition: Sunday 12th November, 6.00 pm (Coward/Yardley)
Please note that the audition will also involve a short, fun, informal tap dancing workshop at 7.30 pm to give you a flavour of what’s to come!
Performances: Tuesday 5th March – Saturday 9th March 2024
Presentation by the director, Mandy Stenhouse
Every week, a tap dance class meets in a dingy church hall. There’s ex-professional dancer Mavis, who runs it; cheerful bubbly Sylvia; Andy, wanting to do good but lacking confidence; snobby but well-meaning Vera; timid mouse Dorothy; attractive, sharp, shrewd Maxine; plain straightforward Lynne; Rose, just here for a good time, and Geoffrey, the lone male.
Forty years since its West End premiere, this hilarious and heart-warming play hits the TTC stage with a chorus line of wannabe toe-tappers, who might just have it in them to make it big...
“Very funny, moving, and cannot fail to leave you with a smile on your face” Radio Times
About the play
I first ‘met’ this play in April 2000, and later again in 2007, so I am thrilled to be directing my own version in 2024!
The play follows eight individuals from different walks of life and with different motivations as they participate in their weekly tap dancing class in a dingy North London church hall. We watch them as they get to grips with tap dancing, make friends, learn about each other, and take on the challenge of performing in a show for charity. The dance routines are the background for the focus of the play, resulting in much hilarity as they struggle with (in some cases) two left feet despite the best efforts of the teacher. The play is also rich in amusing character interactions (cue bumbling widower, Geoffrey and intolerant and grumpy pianist Mrs Fraser) which pepper the play with laugh aloud moments.
Ages are those given in the script but can be flexible.
Mavis, 35-50 – the dance teacher. Smoker. Ex-pro dancer. A good teacher but has a troubled home life, which can ‘spill over’ into her mood when taking classes. Considerate, organsied and obviously in charge of the group. Please note that this actor needs to be a proficient tap dancer.
Mrs Fraser, 50ish – the pianist. Regional accent. Determinedly pessimistic. Very set in her ways, can be very smug and is unhelpful and intolerant, sarcastic and grumpy.
Lynne, 20-25 - a student nurse, very eager to please, with ample curves. Never wears make up but glows. Dancing ability - good, she is light on her feet, attentive and serious about dancing. She smiles a lot but bites her nails when she does something wrong.
Dorothy, 25-45 – small and anxious. Dancing ability – she makes extravagantly large movements and looks at Mavis’ feet all the time. She has a habit of repeating other people’s last words...last words...
Maxine, 40 something – confident, with hair and ‘good’ make up. Always selling goods. Dancing ability – confident, competent and loves it. Best mover in the group, the most ‘natural’ dancer and also uses her arms well.
Andy, 25-40 – in her mid-30s. She’s inclined to stoop as though ashamed of her height. Unhappy home life – she is bullied by her husband. Dancing ability – hopeless, with no coordination at all. Looks ‘front’ as though not there, arms to her side with clenched fists. Raises her feet as though avoiding dog’s muck.
Geoffrey, mid-40s – a widower, still grieving. Tall, shy, quiet, honest and doesn’t like being noticed. Dancing ability – limited but competent. He smiles for a moment if something amuses him or someone goes wrong, but quickly controls it. He has a crush on Andy. It would be desirable if this actor could play the piano.
Slyvia, early 30s – bubbly character, untidy with ample curves. She chews gum. Dancing ability – not very good but doesn’t care. Always a little bit out of step: if others go left, she goes right.
Rose, 40s – a London Trinidadian. Dancing ability – little sense of rhythm but loves every minute of it! If she makes a mistake, she smiles broadly covering her mouth with her hand.
Vera, 35-50ish – neat and tidy, with immaculate hair and make up. For all her ‘neatness’ she dresses a bit like a high-class tart. A snob but well meaning. Dancing ability – picks it up quickly. Dances as primly and efficiently as she does everything else.
We will start with a read through on Thursday 16th November in the Hampton Hill Theatre foyer to kick start everything. Thereafter, rehearsals will begin in earnest during the week commencing 20th November. The plan is to have blocked the play and set the choreography before Christmas. We anticipate a two week break over the Christmas season, picking up again early in the New Year.
Play readings are not just for prospective actors, but for anyone who would like to join in reading the play – or just listen to it being read. The readings are informal social occasions when the bar is open - we enjoy meeting new people and welcoming them to our club. There is no obligation to audition for the play or even to read – and there’s no need to book, just turn up!
For more information email@example.com