How long have you worked with Goodwood?
I have worked with Goodwood in various forms for over 20 years. When I finished my acting education at Chichester College I enjoyed my time so much that I applied for the Wardrobe Mistress position there knowing nothing about it and just wanting to be in the arts department from the stage because it was so much fun. I got the job. Gradually this work came to an end and the Goodwood connection grew. It was 22 years ago!
Tell us about your first Goodwood Revival
I did all the Revivals except the first one in 1998. At the time, we had very few actors there, and they were all college student comedians. They were just pilots, nurses and officers on the airfield – I think for the first Revival we had 16 in total. This year’s cast list right now has just knocked on the 200’s door. And we’re not done yet!
I remember being a lady from WI, selling strawberries and cream. I also owned a Bavarian ski chalet with my university teacher. We were given two Saint Bernard dogs and beer napkins – I remember thinking “why do we want the beer napkins?” – later I found out it was to clean the dogs slime and protect the guests’ outfits!
What does a normal day look like for you?
There are no normal days before Revival – they don’t exist! It’s a complete mishmash of casting the actors, deciding what they’re going to do, what they’re going to wear, finding all the costumes we don’t have in stock, planning rehearsals, booking choreographers, to have casting meetings. And then, help plan the party and what the waiters and waitresses are going to wear. I do a lot of designs myself and I also designed some sets.
What happens the rest of the year?
Revival is our biggest event, but it certainly isn’t the only one. We do about 80 days of performance per year. I run the Goodwood Actors Guild, which has over 400 actors listed in our books and available to work with us. This can range from coordinating a photoshoot at the airfield for a few hours, to three days of filming with Downton abbey, which required 100 extras. They are really different ends of the scale.