The Early Bird Cast Biographies

Thom PettyThom Petty (Jack)

Thom was born in Manchester and read medicine at Edinburgh University. Recent theatre roles include Pimp in Sink the Belgrano (Bridewell Theatre/SEDOS) and Tom in On Religion (Bridewell Theatre/Tower). Also a musician, he studied composition at the RNCM Junior School and with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. He was taught by Steve Martland, Paul Patterson and Adam Gorb. He was selected for the 1998 BBC Young Musicians Composers’ Workshop with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra on BBC2. He has since had pieces performed at the Royal Festival Hall, Cheltenham Festival, York Late Music Festival, King’s Place, and on Radio 3. He wrote the television titles music for BBC Young Musician 2000 and the score for the 2010 feature film Release (Bonne Idee Productions), which won the Movies on the Move Best UK Drama Feature Award at the End of the Pier Film Festival. He won the 2010 Primrose Piano Quartet Burn’s Air Competition and was a soundtrack finalist in the 2012 ENO Minioperas competition. He has performed saxophone concerti by Binge and Glazunov. In 2010, he co-founded Bristol Concert Series, which promotes concert performances by non-professional musicians.

Kate SketchleyKate Sketchley (Debbie)

Prior to appearing in The Early Bird, Kate graduated with Distinction from the MA Classical and Contemporary Text (Acting) course at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (formerly RSAMD). During her training, she originated a role in The Fragmented Life of Dorothy Lawrence by Lewis Hetherington, appeared as the Duchess in The Duchess of Malfi, and participated in a one-month intensive training session at the Globe Theatre. She has a BSc in Psychology from McGill University, and was heavily involved in producing and performing in student theatre. While at McGill, she appeared as Isabella in Measure for Measure, and Yang Sun/The Wife in The Good Person of Sichuan.

A Little More about… The Early Bird

The Early Bird by Leo Butler is a dark drama, and the very first (official) KDC Spotlight Showcase, a play with a small cast that a director can get really intimate in the direction of.

The Early Bird taps into the darkest fear of any parent – the disappearance of their child – to brilliantly capture the nightmare of recrimination and loss. Debbie and Jack blame each other and themselves, and in doing so reveal the inner secrets of their own relationship.

The Early Bird is our first show of the forthcoming Spring Season at the Lion and Unicorn Theatre in Kentish Town, and is directed by Zoe Thomas-Webb (whose previous productions include “The Last Days of Judas Iscariot” with Sedos and “Much Ado About Nothing” with So It Does Theatre).

KDC: Let’s start with; What is it about this play that you love?

Zoe: I love it because it’s about quite a taboo subject but I like the ambiguity of it, it’s provoking and for me, there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

KDC: And how is it working so closely with just two actors who will never even leave the stage?

Zoe: Surprisingly easy, as you don’t have to think about entrances/exits and quick changes etc. And it helps that we all get on (not just saying that because they’re in the room).

KDC: So from a directing point of view, what have you found to be the big rewards of working on a two-hander play?

Zoe: You tend to be able to work a lot faster and more productively as even when you get to periods where you may have crossed wires creatively, it can be cleared up quickly and you can move on.

KDC: The subject matter is a serious one, and the play itself is a dark drama. Does the nature of the play in such an intimate setting affect the tone of the rehearsals?

Zoe: Not at all, if anything I’ve never laughed more.

KDC: Have you had any specific influences to your approach or tone for the production?

Zoe: Not so much artistic influences but we have discussed issues raised by several BBC 4 dramas/Broadchurch and there’s actually been quite a lot in the media recently as it’s the 20th anniversary of the death of James Bulger so a lot of ‘real life’ influences have helped.

KDC: So a minimal question considering the minimal cast, in one word can you describe the relationship between the two characters in just one word? And how about the play itself?

Zoe: Fraught and provoking.

KDC: And let’s finish off with “the tag line that never was” – The Early Bird by Leo Butler:

Zoe: Madonna, Mars Bars and Monsters.

Many thanks to Zoe for taking the time to answer these questions.

Ticket information can be found on both and

“She’s got on her little orange mac. With the hood pulled up. Turns the corner and goes to catch the bus. . . You don’t think, do you? You don’t think anything’s going to happen.”

We’ve also taken the time to catch up with Kate (Debbie) and Thom (Jack), two brand-
spanking new members to KDC who have found that their first show puts them clearly in the spotlight:

KDC: The Early Bird is a drama dealing with a very serious topic. Is the dark subject matter hard to approach?

Thom: Yes (smile).
Kate: Very similar to a play that I developed with a couple of people as a project. We ended up doing a story about a couple whose child had died and they were trying to deal with it so it’s sort of just continued on from that.

KDC: What have you found to be the big rewards, if any, in being in a two hander play?

Kate: Because it’s quite an even split between us, helps to make sure we’re on the same page (not literally, well that too) so it’s easier to reach an agreement on the interpretation of the text at any given moment.

KDC: And is it easy to bond as a cast or establish the character’s relationship in a tense two hander?

Thom: It’s been a difficult subject matter to approach.
Kate: Yeah, it’s a difficult play but that’s good.
Thom: And our relationship in the play isn’t really a good relationship, so, actually, that’s quite challenging because there is a relationship – or there was one, but where it is now is not a happy place.

KDC: How would you describe your characters in one word?

Kate: Desperate.
Jack: Level, he’s a leveller.

KDC: If you had one sentence in which you could sell the show to your fellow KDCers; how would you describe it?

Jack: A terrifying but brilliant insight into a couples darkest times.
Kate: Two people desperately trying to rescue themselves and each other.

KDC would like to thank Thom and Kate for taking the time to answer these questions.

The Early Bird launches our Spring Season for one week only and runs for five shows from the 26th to the 30th March at the Lion and Unicorn Theatre in Kentish Town (tickets are £12 with an £8 concession).

The Early Bird Audition Notice

The-Early-Bird-thumbTuesday 26th – Saturday 30th March

“She’s got on her little orange mac. With the hood pulled up. Turns the corner and goes to catch the bus. . . You don’t think, do you? You don’t think anything’s going to happen.”

1. Auditions

Auditions will take place from 6.30pm for a 7pm start on 21st, 22nd and 23rd January 2013 at the St Brides Foundation, 14 Bride Lane, City of London, EC4Y 8EQ. You do not need to register for auditions or prepare anything in advance. Please come on whichever day suits you. When you arrive you’ll be given a scene from a modern play to prepare. We will also play a couple of warm up games.
Recalls will be on Sunday 27th January from 10am to 2pm and you will be told the venue if you are recalled. If we’d like to see you at the recalls we’ll call you on Thursday 24th January to let you know. You will be called in a groups of 10 and paired with a Debbie or a Jack. Then we will work on some partnering exercises and a couple of the key scenes from the play.

2. Show Dates

We’ll be performing from Tuesday 26th – Saturday 30th March at The Lion & Unicorn Theatre in Kentish Town. The shows will start at 7.30pm and you’ll need to be at the theatre at least an hour beforehand.

3. Synopsis

The Early Bird taps into the darkest fear of any parent – the dissappearance of their child – to brilliantly capture the nightmare of recrimination and loss. Debbie and Jack blame each other and themselves, and in doing so reveal the innner secrets of their own relationship. What I think is so brilliant about this play is the ambigouity of it all we never know how Kimberley, the daughter has dissapeared we don’t know how old she is, this leads us to focus on Debbie and Jack and the way they deal with their loss and how it effects their love for each other.

4. Cast

Debbie: (28-45) The mother. From Jack’s point of view she is a lazy, watches too much day time tv and feeds Kimberly too many Mars bars and packets of Monster Munch. From Kimberly’s point of view Debbie is a fun and loving mother who tickles her when she’s feeling down. Debbie is forgetful, she can’t remember the day her daughter went missing, she thinks she knows what happened, but she can’t quite put her finger on it. Debbie just wants her daughter back and until she gets what she wants she’ll blame anyone but herself.

Jack: (28-45) The Father. From Debbie’s point of view he is a lad about town, who only cares about work and who swears too much in front of Kimberley. From his daughter’s point of view Jack is distant but not so much so that he forgets to tuck his daughter up in bed and tells her ghost stories. Jack forgets his daughter is missin

g, he hears her call out in the night and he still goes to her room to tuck her in. Jack just wants his wife back, the wife who he fell in love with on holiday.

“So it’s my fault.”

Script extracts (please read)

Early Bird Script 1Early Bird Script 2Early Bird Script 3



Some of the rehearsals will not fit the standard Monday, Wednesday and Sunday format of a KDC show, so a full list of dates is shown below.  Weekday rehearsals are 7pm to 9.30pm, and weekend rehearsals are 12pm to 5pm.

3rd Feb
6th Feb
9th Feb
13th Feb
18th Feb
20th Feb
23rd Feb
25th Feb
27th Feb

3rd March
9th March
11th March
16th March
18th March
20th March
23rd March
24th March