Feature film and web / blog project examining the phenomenon of historical re-enactment. The film is available to buy on DVD from the Somewhere Shop.
'Living with the Tudors', grew out of several years' work about the UK historical re-enactment scene, much of which is collated here in this part of the Somewhere site. We began by participating as Tudor re-enactors ourselves & joining the large-scale 're-creations' at Kentwell Hall. Initially we made a range of works which recorded our experiences including pinhole photographs, video diaries, and footage from tiny cameras buried in our costumes.
At the end of 2005 we were awarded a BBC / Arts Council England Private View commission to bring some of our research to fruition with the Sometime Later website & blog, these document our time spent in both Tudor and WW II eras at Kentwell. We returned the next year to shoot Living with the Tudors.
After 4 years of participation as costumed historical re-enactors, Karen Guthrie & Nina Pope were given unprecedented access to the UK's oldest and largest historical re-enactment at Kentwell Hall in rural Suffolk.
Among the 500 volunteers spending their summer holidays re-creating every conceivable walk of 16th century English life, they meet a core of fiercely loyal and protective re-enactors whose real life stories form a fascinating counterpoint to their chosen 16th century roles: they include Tissy, a former airline security guard who becomes the serene 'lady of the manor'; Danny, a disaffected teenager who transforms into the gentlemanly Master Riece, and Sue, who never wants to leave the manor.
Shepherding through the thousands of paying visitors who keep Kentwell afloat is owner Patrick Phillips, a distant paternal leader who describes the epic spectacles as his 'game'. Patrick's lifelong reign threatens to draw to a close with no plans for a successor, and Kentwell's future seems as uncertain as when he bought the ruin over thirty years ago.
Shot over an idyllic English summer from both behind the scenes and in front, the directors Pope & Guthrie also appear before the camera in their 16th century roles of 'limners' or Tudor artists - painting miniature portraits of Kentwell's gentry. This refined portraiture echoes the film's persistent affectionate analysis of its central characters as we discover what these secretive enthusiaists are escaping from - and to.
Shot in High Definition, with additional footage from spy cameras hidden in the directors tudor costumes, a Tudor kid-cam and WW II 16 mm footage, Living with the Tudors is available for screening on HD CAM (PAL & NTSC), digibeta & Blu-ray disc.
Living with the Tudors is distributed by Soda
Pictures in the UK and Indiepix in the US.
It is available to buy on DVD from the Somewhere Shop. All international enquiries should be directed to Somewhere. You can find the film on facebook too.