The rehearsal room fills up for Before the Party

The rehearsal room is filling up as the cast get to grips with their Before the Party scripts. JMK Assistant Director Flora Longley-Cook takes us behind the scenes of week three.

With bellies full of chocolate after the Easter weekend, we continue the ‘Before the Party’ journey by once again returning to the start of it! And we are adding more and more detail in every department.

The set is growing in and out of the rehearsal room. Walls and hallways get built in the workshop, and in the rehearsal room, set fills the space – a bed head here, a stuffed parrot there.


Philip Bretherton in rehearsals for Before the Party

Finding the right furniture is a bit like the fairytale of Goldilocks and the three bears: first the sofa is too big and the chair is too tall, and the actors create a ballet of bumping into things. Then we get in some hobbit sized furnishings, which result in many a giggle in the room – particularly when one actor sits on the sofa and the other goes flying off it. After the wonderful stage management team spend Easter Sunday scouring antique markets, and most of Wednesday driving to and from Brighton on collection duty, we finally have our ‘just right’ furniture!

The sound of the room changes as costume builds too, the actors are given their shoes – an important addition to a character – and the clacking of 1940s heels is introduced.

And last but not least, the detail grows in the action of the play itself. As we rocket towards the end of rehearsals our actors create ever-developing characters and as we unearth nuances and specificity within the piece, all the humour, comedy, and darkness starts to clarify and ring true.

Before the Party runs in the Main House from Thursday 4 May to Saturday 27 May. For tickets or more information please contact the Ticket Office on 01722 320333 or visit



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