Drive-thru cel­e­bra­tions help mark 10th an­niver­sary

The Wokingham Paper - - NEWS -

TO MARK a decade in show­busi­ness, more than 300 fam­i­lies held a drive-by cel­e­bra­tion on Satur­day.

It wasn’t the orig­i­nal plan: Step­pin Out Stars of To­mor­row had in­tended to hold a spe­cial theatri­cal event, but the allsing­ing, all-danc­ing per­for­mances were nixed by the coro­n­avirus.

So school prin­ci­pal, Shel­ley Ot­way, hit upon an­other way to al­low her pupils to cel­e­brate 10 years of the classes be­ing run from The Emm­brook School – it has since ex­panded to in­clude Wood­ley and War­grave.

They were in­vited to drive past Hatch­wood Mills in Win­nersh, to de­liver cards and presents and meet spe­cial guests: pa­tron Matt Stir­ling, who has just re­turned to the set of Juras­sic Park 4 where is an ac­tor and stunt­man, and Emma Lains­bury, who starred as Alice in Won­der­land in the orig­i­nal pro­duc­tion. She is cur­rently study­ing at a Barcelona drama school.

And they could also en­joy an ice cream.

Ms Ot­way said: “I never thought it would be so well­re­ceived. The neigh­bours on Hatch­wood Mills were so sup­port­ive. The chil­dren all came along, beeped their horn and got a free ice cream from me from Ian at Mr Whippy.

“It was nice to be able to sup­port an­other lo­cal busi­ness in such dif­fi­cult times.”

She con­tin­ued: “They all bought with them pic­tures and cards and had their pho­tos taken with themed Alice in Won­der­land char­ac­ters, our first-ever show.”

Al­though the planned an­niver­sary per­for­mances won’t now go ahead, the old theatre adage ‘the show must go on’ has seen Ms Ot­way take her school – and com­mu­nity – on­line.

“We added day­time classes to keep the chil­dren en­ter­tained, free cos­tume-mak­ing com­ple­tions, held an on­line tal­ent comp, a weekly quiz and Face­book live events where the chil­dren could win prizes.”

And Satur­day’s cel­e­bra­tion brought cheer to Ms Ot­way, who said: “I was so hum­bled by the amaz­ing turnout and it gives me hope that I will have a busi­ness to re­turn to in Septem­ber when we get the green light from our venues and the gov­ern­ment.”

For more de­tails, log on to www.step­pinout­

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