The 39 Steps


The 39 Steps

Full-Length Play, Comedy  /  1w, 1m, 2any gender (adult)

Adapted by Patrick Barlow
From the novel by John Buchan

From the movie by Alfred Hitchcock
Licensed by ITV Global Entertainment Limited
And an original concept by Simon Corble and Nobby Dimon

Mix a Hitchcock masterpiece with a juicy spy novel, add a dash of Monty Python and you have The 39 Steps, a fast-paced whodunit for anyone who loves the magic of theatre! This two-time Tony and Drama Desk Award-winning treat is packed with nonstop laughs, over 150 zany characters (played by a ridiculously talented cast of four), an onstage plane crash, handcuffs, missing fingers, and some good old-fashioned romance!

Image: 2008 Roundabout Theatre Company Production (Joan Marcus)

  • Cast Size
    Cast Size
    1w, 1m, 2any gender (adult)
  • Duration
    120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre
    Farce, Adventure, Mystery/Thriller
  • Audience
    Target Audience
    Adult, Senior, Pre-Teen (Age 11 - 13), Teen (Age 14 - 18)
  • Winner! Two 2008 Tony Awards
    Winner! 2008 Drama Desk Award, Unique Theatrical Experience
    Winner! 2007 Laurence Olivier Award, Best New Comedy
    Nominee: Six 2008 Tony Awards, including Best Play


In The 39 Steps, a man with a boring life meets a woman with a thick accent who says she’s a spy. When he takes her home, she is murdered. Soon, a mysterious organization called “The 39 Steps” is hot on the man’s trail in a nationwide manhunt that climaxes in a death-defying finale! A riotous blend of virtuoso performances and wildly inventive stagecraft, The 39 Steps amounts to an unforgettable evening of pure pleasure! 

The 39 Steps was first performed at the West Yorkshire Playhouse on 17 June 2005. The original London production, by arrangement with Edward Snape for Firery Angel Limited, opened at the Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn on 10 August 2006 and transferred to the Criterion Theatre in the West End on 14 September 2006. The play premiered on Broadway at the American Airlines Theatre on 15 January 2008. Directed by Maria Aitken, the production featured Arnie Burton, Charles Edwards, Jennifer Ferrin and Cliff Saunders. 
  • Time Period 1930s
  • Setting London, Edinburgh and the Scottish Highlands. 1935.
  • Features Period Costumes
  • Additional Features Physical Comedy
  • Duration 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Cautions
    • Gun Shots


“Ingenious! A dizzy delight!” – Daily News

“Theatre at its finest... Absurdly enjoyable! This gleefully theatrical riff on Hitchcock's film is fast and frothy, performed by a cast of four that seems like a cast of thousands.” – The New York Times, 


  • The 39 Steps - NY Montage  youtube thumbnail

    The 39 Steps - NY Montage

  • The 39 Steps - Pamela's Stockings youtube thumbnail

    The 39 Steps - Pamela's Stockings

  • The 39 Steps - Professor Jordan youtube thumbnail

    The 39 Steps - Professor Jordan

  • The 39 Steps - Annabella's Demise youtube thumbnail

    The 39 Steps - Annabella's Demise

  • The 39 Steps - Hannay and the Traveling Salesmen youtube thumbnail

    The 39 Steps - Hannay and the Traveling Salesmen

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  • The 39 Steps

    Image: 2008 Roundabout Theatre Company Production (Joan Marcus)

Licensing & Materials

  • Minimum Fee: £70 per performance plus VAT when applicable.
    Performance rights for this show are currently heavily restricted in the UK and Ireland. Please submit a licence request to determine availability


Available Formats:


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Patrick Barlow

Besides his version of Lew Wallace’s Ben Hur, Patrick Barlow’s Olivier-nominated adaptation of A Christmas Carol has played off-Broadway and London’s West End while his 4-person adaptation of The 39 Steps has played in over forty countries worldwide, winning Olivier, Helpmann ...

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John Buchan

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