Bring Your Own Baby Rehearsals!
Updated: Mar 9, 2019
It's day 1 of rehearsals for PURGE. In addition to the first day nerves of have I learnt all my lines in the right order, I have the added uncertainty of taking my 4month old baby into rehearsals for the first time. Her older brother was the reason I set up my own company to promote this practice but he was a good 16months or so by the time that happened so I already had a handle on his temperament and he was happily cruising and enjoying playing with other kids by then. Now here I am with a 4 month old in one hand and a script in the other: this was a whole new ball game!
In addition to the usual nappy bag, I packed an extra bag with anything I could of think of to keep her distracted. I had a groovy new pram which meant she could sit up to watch what was going on or stay in her seat if she was sleeping. I'd packed everything I could think of plus a couple of reserve "just in case" toys. And now here we were in the room.
The reception was lovely with a lot of cooing over her and excitement. She'd been up since 6am so I was hoping she would drift off fairly soon..alas this was not to be! We started with a read through and I took the opportunity to feed her then it was on our feet time and into the pram she went with our lovely AD, Chloe keeping an eye on her. And you know what? The baby absolutely loved it. She alternated between nibbling on toys and keeping a close eye on what was happening. Everyone was incredibly helpful, taking turns to look after her, jiggle her around, goop at her or trying to elicit some smiles from her. At one point our brilliant director Kayleigh was smoothly cruising up and down with the babe in one arm whilst giving directions - multi-talented! And at another point, I found myself breastfeeding her whilst doing a sitting down scene in a tram - multitasking indeed.
It all went pretty swimmingly until around 4pm when her avid interest in eveything around her and lack of sleep since 6am finally caught up with her and things started to get tricky as she wanted only me and only feeding. Fortunately we had another newish Mum, the supremely talented Emily Heyworth, in the room and my little one happily settled on her without so much as a grumble so that I could work through some stage combat with the fab Amy du Quesne.
We made it through and I've learnt some lessons from the experience; so if anyone's thinking about taking their little ones into the rehearsal room, here are my takeaways:
1) Pack a nice soft mat and just a couple of toys; they're almost certainly going to be more interested in the people and activity in the room than their toys!
2) Be off book. Trying to juggle a baby and a script is nigh on impossible
3) do EVERYTHING you can to get them to sleep!
4) Get lots of sleep yourself beforehand, eat well ...and take extra deodorant! it's like a workout, mentally and physically, managing your baby in addition to rehearsing.
5) Did I mention lines....?
6) Everyone is really lovely, supportive and keen to make it work so get out there and give it a go!
Big thanks to the PURGE team for making this happen.
If you've taken your little ones into rehearsal and want to share your experience, write a wee piece about it and send it to me on firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll share it here.
And if you want to come and see our fabulous team at work PURGE is playing at Oldham Coliseum on Thursday March 14th and Friday March 15th – booking here http://www.coliseum.org.uk/plays/purge/
And at The Lowry on Tuesday March 26th - - link here https://thelowry.com/whats-on/purge/