Before The Party comes together in week four of rehearsals

JMK Assistant Director Flora Longley-Cook feels the play coming together as the company marks off week four of rehearsals for Before the Party

Another week over, another week closer to opening, and with set construction on stage and the first full run in rehearsals everything is buzzing and building up to opening night.

A wonderful part of the JMK assistant role, any assistant role for that matter, is that a budding director, without the experience to put on a complete show themselves, gets to learn from the more experienced. And great assistant roles like these are often hard to come by.

BEFORE THE PARTY in rehearsals Photo Lydia Stamps Photography2

Philip Bretherton, Sherry Baines, Katherine Manners and Bathsheba Piepe in rehearsals for Before the Party

Within the Salisbury Playhouse I am involved in a show that has a set/costume designer, a lighting designer, a sound designer, as well as SM, ASM, and DSM, (without writing all the words those are three parts of a stage management team, one – the lovely Lisa – who stays in the rehearsals, and two – Rickie and Sara-Lee – who are in and out of it), also costume supervisors, technicians, set builders, the list goes on – a huge team which I am unlikely to be able to work with on a normal day, all charging towards the goal of creating this production, and all with banks of knowledge and experience that I can try to prize out of them.

With the help of the JMK bursary, Salisbury Playhouse and the JMK Trust can allow someone like me to learn from all these people and, significantly, from someone like Ryan – our Director – whose ‘pearls of wisdom’ (including the comparison between the actor and the shark which I haven’t quite grasped yet) it’s suggested I write down with a sarcastic grin on a daily basis. Laughter and energy, all produced or encouraged by Ryan, get us through the difficult decisions and hard parts of rehearsal. By osmosis those qualities have become absorbed into the play and it has become alive!

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

Before the Party cast-page002


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