Salon squad spread the word about Steel Magnolias show

When the team at the Hemel Hempstead Theatre Company were looking for the best place to promote their latest show, there was only one answer.

With Steel Magnolias set in a neighbourhood hair salon in the Deep South, it seemed that the ideal place to spread the word would be the town centre’s many hair and beauty salons.

Spreading the word about Steel Magnolias

Spreading the word about Steel Magnolias

But it wasn’t enough to distribute a few flyers and hope that the word got out.

So Zoe Harbour, Jaqui Sampson and Karina Bygate, who all play key roles in the show which opens this week, got themselves dolled up in full dress rehearsal rig and headed out in character to talk to stylists and customers about the Boxmoor Playhouse production.

The trio, who play the parts made famous in the film version of the hit play by Julia Roberts, Dolly Parton and Shirley MacLaine respectively, made the most of the chance to soak up the salon atmospere before curtain goes up at the St John’s Road theatre.

The company’s marketing maestro Stewart Fairthorne, who joined the salon squad on their charm offensive, said: “We would always have flyers in town and in shops to promote forthcoming productions but we have made a special effort to target the local hair salons for Steel Magnolias.

“We have had a very positive response everywhere we have been.

“Some people have been convinced that our cast is American because they stayed in character during the visits.

“It was quite funny seeing reactions when one of the cast would speak in their normal accent.

“It has certainly boosted their confidence to know they can ‘fool’ the public.”

First time director Lynda Livsey Randall is calling the shots for the play, written by Robert Harling as a very personal tribute to his much-loved sister.

The story of a small town beauty parlour in steamy, sticky Louisiana is all about life, love and loss and the cast are relishing the opportunity of making the most of a script crackling with witty lines.

The show runs from Wednesday, March 19 through to Saturday, March 22 with 7.45pm performances each evening and a 2.30pm matinee on the Saturday.

Tickets are £10 for adults, £9 concessions in the stalls, with further discounts of group bookings. Visit, for more details.