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Stephanie bids farewell to Settle Amateur Operatic Society
3:30pm Friday 13th July 2012 in Arts & Ents News
Stephanie Phillips has stepped down from the production team of Settle Amateur Operatic Society after 41 years.
Loved by many as a dance teacher and the maypole doyenne of Long Preston, Stephanie first worked with the society as choreographer and then, for 30 years, as the producer and choreographer.
She has always loved musical theatre and, while studying at the Royal Academy of Dance, saw such great shows as Oliver, My Fair Lady and Fiddler on the Roof in the West End, with their original casts.
Her love of the theatre springs from her family. Her grandfather, father and mother were all involved in productions, her two brothers work in professional theatre and her grandfather, William Taylor, produced 100 shows in Folkestone.
At her surprise leaving party, Chris Ingram, chairman of trustees for NODA (the National Operatic and Dramatic Association), described her as “superwoman”.
“It has been an amazing 41 years,” said Stephanie. “There have been hundreds of hairy moments when scenery has trembled, and on occasion fallen, and actors have ‘dried’. In fact, during the 1993 production of My Fair Lady, two actors managed to skip two pages and they had to keep going round in circles until they found their way back to the right place.
“What I remember most is the fun of rehearsals and the satisfaction of giving a good show. It was a hard decision to stand down. I have made so many good friends and enjoyed sharing the family atmosphere and teamwork that is the essence of the society.”
Stephanie said the most touching moment in her 41 years with the society was when newly-born Lauren, daughter of members Alison and Steven Soames, appeared on stage at the end of Half A Sixpence at less than 48 hours old.
Lauren is still involved with the society and will play Marta, one of the Von Trapp children, in the October production of The Sound of Music.