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Rehearsal update: the final weeks

The cast of 'We Need to Talk about Bobby (off EastEnders)

The cast of 'We Need to Talk About Bobby (off EastEnders)' (l-r) Thomas Bulpett, Tara Embers and Sophie Portway

We’re at the very end of our rehearsal process and heading to the Fringe this week! It’s a lot easier to ‘jump’ into performing scenes now but the script and the actors still manage to surprise me as we made new discoveries even today.

We’ve definitely reached a point of being comfortable with one another as a cast, which comes naturally when you’re performing a play with such a small team. I think a moment that particularly highlights our family feel was our trip to Primark to find costumes…

We managed to stay in the shop until closing time, which I wouldn’t recommend to anybody who hasn’t had much sleep and has been rehearsing in a dark studio for most of the week - there are only so many times I can look at the same clothing rack - but we managed to find everything we needed and treated ourselves to a pizza in the evening.

What do you buy when you’re shopping for a 13-year-old character? The trip made us realise just how much has changed for young girls, as we found ourselves putting black chokers into the basket and looking at squidgy iPhone cases with unicorns on.

On the other hand, flicking through clothes sparked flashbacks of being 11 years old and dragging my mum around Primark for the latest trend of trousers or bangles.

It struck me just how much pressure there is on young girls to fit in, to be exceptionally talented and pretty, and to seem older than they are. I think that that has been the most important part of making this play believable and powerful… That is, bringing our own experience of being 13, into the rehearsal space.

The willingness to share has created hilarious moments, and moments where we can all really rely on each other as actors and as friends – even if that just involves helping Lucy pick up popcorn that she’s dropped all over the floor…

"We Need to Talk About Bobby (off EastEnders)" runs at ZOO Southside Studio 12.40pm daily from 14 - 28 August

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