As we are now well underway with rehearsals, we took some time to catch up with our Director, Philip
Browell, to get his thoughts on the production and how he is enjoying his Director responsibilities.

Philip, what motivated PRS to choose this particular play as their next production?
That’s easy! The fabulous nature of Oscar Wilde’s writing, the fizzing dialogue, and the laugh out loud
comedy to be had from the beautifully constructed characters.
What’s your ‘vision’ for this production? How do you keep it fresh for the audience of 2023?
Well, the play is set in 1895 and I plan to keep it within that period from a costume point of view and
remain faithful to the script. It’s essentially a farce with all the ludicrous elements and much of the play
revolves around some specific period props and it didn’t feel right to change that. The difference will
be the minimalist nature of the set and the creation of much of the ‘scenery’ by visual effects, much in
the same way as an impressionist painting – so that we focus on the interaction between the
characters. I see the script as a ‘dance’ between the key characters – they are drawn together, then
pushed apart and, hopefully, you will see this in the on-stage movement driven by the fast-paced

How are rehearsals going?
Rehearsals are a joy. We have a brilliant team of actors and back stage. I can honestly put my hand
on my heart and say that I am laughing more now than when we had our initial read through. There is
always something new either in a look or in the way the dialogue presents itself that you simply
cannot help but laugh out loud and keep laughing. Let’s face it with financial crises, war in Ukraine
and disease we could all do with a belly laugh!

What does the Director actually do? What’s the most challenging part?
The purpose of the Director is to guide and assist the actors and backstage in bringing the play to life.
That can be by deciding how the play is to be performed i.e., it’s style and drawing as much from the
actors with whom you work as you can. None are professional actors but that does not belittle the
amazing talents present here. I have been tremendously impressed by their dedication and appetite
for hard work to produce the best ‘Earnest’ that we can. Throughout, as a Director, I find it best to
consult and discuss, but at the end of the day only the Director can decide. With this production the
most challenging thing is having sometimes to choose between the plethora of brilliant ideas that
come forward from the Team in rehearsal!

If you had to name your dream production to direct (other than this one obviously) what would
it be?
That’s easy! ‘Blithe Spirit’ by Noel Coward.

What’s next for PRS?
It’s all go! Almost as soon as we finish ‘Earnest’ we will be preparing for the debut concert of our
fledgling choir in Ponteland Memorial Hall – hopefully in early June. Around the same time, we will be
auditioning for our seasonal musical which will be a pantomime this year in November. We are always
looking for new members and production crew for front of house and backstage – so do get in touch
with us either via the website or our FB or Instagram pages if you’d like to be involved in any of that!

Performances of ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ are at 7pm on Friday 21st April and
Saturday 22nd April and matinee performances at 2:15pm on Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23 rd
April. Prices £12 per adult and £6 per child.

The Importance of Being Earnest – Interview with Director Philip Browell