How long did you work with Goodwood?
[Before retiring at the start of 2022] I've been involved with Goodwood in various guises for over 20 years. When I finished training as an actor at Chichester College, I enjoyed my time so much that I applied for the job of Wardrobe Mistress there, not knowing anything about it and just wanting to be around the performing arts department because it was such fun. I got the job. Gradually that job tailed off and the Goodwood connection grew. That was 22 years ago!
Tell us about your first Goodwood Revival
I've done all the Revivals except the first one in 1998. Back then, we only had a very few actors on site, and they were all student actors from the college. They were just pilots and nurses and officers on the airfield – I think for the first Revival we had 16 in total. This year's cast list at the moment is just knocking on the door of 200. And we're not done yet!
I remember being a WI lady, selling strawberries and cream. I was also an owner of a Bavarian ski lodge with my college tutor. We were handed two St. Bernard dogs and some beer towels – I remember thinking ‘why do we want the beer towels?’ – later I discovered it was to clean up the dogs’ slobber and to protect guests’ outfits!
What did a normal Revival day look like for you?
There are no normal days in the run up to 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, sourcing all the costumes that we haven't got in stock, planning rehearsals, booking choreographers, having casting meetings. And then, helping plan the party and what the waiters and waitresses are going to wear. I did quite a lot of the designs myself and I’ve designed some of the sets, too.
What happens the rest of the year?
Revival is our biggest event but it's certainly not our only one. We do about 80 performance days a year. I run the Goodwood Actors Guild, which is 400 plus actors that are on our books and available to work with us. It can be anything from coordinating a photoshoot down at the aerodrome for a couple of hours, to three days filming with Downton Abbey, which required 100 extras. It's really different ends of the scale.