Baby, He Loves You rehearsal diary

By 5 April 2024Blog, Shows

RTYDS Intensive Residency Director, Rachael Abbey, shares reflections from the first two weeks inside the rehearsal room

Cast and creative team in one of our rehearsal spaces

Rehearsals are like watching magic being made. The first day always gives big ‘first day of school’ vibes. A group of people, many of whom haven’t met each other before but have all been slowly working on things in the background, come together to start taking the script from being words on a page into a full-blown show.

Coming in as an assistant director, I think it’s important to get to know all of the departments working on the show, as every element of a production of this scale really takes a village to create.  

The first week we were together was a bit like a buffet of the show. And everyone loves a buffet. Some of the delights on offer included:  

  • A readthrough of the script, with Maureen Lennon there to talk about where the idea came from and her writing process 
  • A model box presentation, where the designer Bethany Wells talked everyone through the design ideas for the show 
  • Chats about costume from Siân Thomas, who has effectively curated a micro-wardrobe for each character which reflects who they are 
  • An aerial hoop session by Dani Clements, our choreographer and for five people who had never really done any aerial before, they took to it incredibly well 
  • Some character work on the script to start building the world that the play takes place in 
  • Talks led by the Middle Child team about how the company works and what is in place to make sure that everyone who is not from the city is well looked after 
  • A photoshoot for publicity, which I think was a highlight for me 
  • Song learning with Ysabelle Wombwell for the newly written songs for the show 

So, as you can see it’s a lot, and that was just week one. We’re in week three now and we’ve got the shape of the show, which means we have the solid building blocks of the characters, and we’ve physically placed everyone where they need to be during the scenes.

We’re now doing a lot of choreography and movement, which will help to connect the dots of the scenes and the overarching story. It helps us tell the story in another way which is fun and powerful and devastating, all in the same breath.  

Baby, He Loves You is a big play with some big ideas and questions, and that’s potentially scary, but we’re not just working with an immensely talented team, we’re working with a team who is caring and supportive and playful and holds space for each other.

I can’t wait for you to see this show, but the process has really been a joy already, and I feel incredibly fortunate to be in the room with everyone.

  • Baby, He Loves You opens Friday 19 April and runs until Sunday 28 April at Stage@TheDock, Hull
  • Book your tickets via our website, or by contacting Hull Truck Theatre
  • This show tackles some heavy issues and our content warnings include: strong language, misogyny, sex, discussion of sexual assault and sexual harassment. Please see our content notes page for a more detailed plot summary
  • Please take a look at our what to expect page for additional information regarding the venue and accessibility