Spotlight On… Steel Magnolias Star, Stephanie Beattie

Steel Magnolias is staying at the Hope Theatre from 9 August – 3 September 2016 and all details for booking can be found by visiting the link below:

Stephanie takes the role of M’Lynn in this fantastic production of Steel Magnolias and I caught up with her to find out all about the show.


Thank you and welcome to Break A Leg, Stephanie. Tell me about this production of Steel Magnolias and how does it translate from screen to stage?

Although in essence the story is the same I think they are two very different things – a bit like reading a book and then seeing the film of the book.

And I think there is a wonderful intimacy in the play that is difficult to recreate on film.

The script is quite, quite beautiful. Our director, Matthew Parker, has an incredible eye for detail – a real gift. Every single comma, full stop and nuance of every phrase and word has been given it’s due.  I’ve made that sound dull but the opposite is true. He has opened the text wide and revealed a wealth of funny and moving moments that I, for one, missed when reading the script on my own.

And wait till you see our set…

How familiar were you with the production?

It’s been quite a while since I saw the film and so I don’t remember much of the detail. But I do remember loving it.

When I knew I had got the part I didn’t want to watch the film again as I don’t like to turn up at rehearsals with any pre-conceived ideas.

Tell me about the character you play and how you felt they should be played when you first saw the script.

I play M’Lynn Eatenton, the mother of Shelby who is getting married at the beginning of the play.

She is strong, kind, funny and loving but she’s also a worrier and – dare I say – a little controlling!

I would like to think she and I have a lot in common – though obviously not the controlling part!! Haha!

What do you think the audience will take away from the piece?

I think they’ll have a whale of a time!  Steel Magnolias is set in a Louisiana hairdressing salon and is really a series of snapshots in the lives of these six wonderful sassy women who meet at the salon every Saturday.

Just as in life there are moments of light and dark so I think the audience will laugh and cry. But it’s not a depressing piece by any means. I think they will be deeply moved and also have a really good time!

Have you a favourite scene or line?

Oh gosh, that really is a tough one. If I had to choose it might be the repartee that takes place in the salon on Shelby’s wedding morning. Or perhaps the banter in the salon at Christmas…? Or …? No. I don’t want to give too much away. Come and see it and decide for yourselves.

My favourite line? There really are so many to choose from but one of them is where M’Lynn is talking about Shelby’s very pink wedding decorations and says: “That sanctuary looks like it’s been hosed down with Pepto-Bismol.” That conjures up such a strong mental image for me.

 Finally, sell the show to me, why should people come and see it?

It’s fun.
It’s funny.
And it’s deeply moving. There are some plays that leave you feeling emotionally satisfied and, for me, Steel Magnolias tops that list.
And if you like pink, boy are you in for a treat.

Well, you’ve sold it to me, Stephanie! See you there!!


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