From the Director: The 39 Steps

When I first saw The 39 Steps in London in 2007 I went to the show with no expectations. I was not familiar with the pivotal John Buchan novel that created the spy-thriller genre and I had not seen the Hitchcock film that made it famous. I went to theatre like many of you will, to be entertained. What transpired for me that evening was something all theatre practitioners long for, I was revived.

london 2007

After the long hours, I had spent that day deciphering Shakespeare and teaching drama to suburban British teens, I was awakened to everything I loved about theatre. The thrill of seeing a train created with simple crates, the ability to become a new character (or many characters) by simply donning a hat, the hilarity of physical comedy, and the ability to escape for just one night and breathe in the magic of theatre. I hope that many of you will share in my experience; whether you are here with no expectations or great ones, I hope you allow yourself to be swept away in the chaos and the comedy of  The 39 Steps.

Chelsea as Essie in last summer’s performance of  You Can’t Take It With You

Chelsea Wilson Thayer holds a B.S. in Theatre Education from Appalachian State University and a Masters’ Degree in Educational Theatre from New York University. She has worked with theatre practitioners at The Globe and Unicorn Children’s Theatre in London and Samuel Beckett Theatre in Ireland. She holds her NC teaching license in K-12 Theatre Arts and has taught students of all ages in New York, Texas, and North Carolina. She recently directed Into the Woods Jr. at Parkway Playhouse this Spring. Thayer is excited to be directing grown-ups for a change but fears she has forgotten how to talk to “big people” after chasing her own three young children around. Chelsea would like to thank her husband, Bryan, her parents, Betty and John, and her children, Blake, Beckett, and Brandt, for supporting her passion for theatre!


Call 828.682.4285 or CLICK HERE to purchase tickets!


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Parkway Playhouse, located in the Appalachian town of Burnsville, NC, is a haven of theatre talent. While people come to the mountains to get away, Parkway Playhouse is a natural gathering place to connect. Likewise, we are an extension of traditional mountain talents: singing, dancing, and, foremost, storytelling. By giving rise to energetic new voices and through a wide variety of plays and musicals, we invite our audience into experiences that are thought-provoking, adventurous, and entertaining. Together we reimagine the world in every live performance, creating dynamic conversations that last far beyond the curtain call. This blog is will feature stories, helpful information, insight and features about the performances.

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