Nina Pope

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, 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 enthusiasts are escaping from – and to.

Living with the Tudors is Pope & Guthrie's second feature length documentary and is distributed in the UK by Soda pictures and the US by Indiepix. It was premiered at the BritDoc film festival & SXSW.

Funders: Channel 4 British Documentary Film Foundation, Arts Council England & The Gulbenkian Foundation.


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