Epsom Downs: The Final Furlong

Here we are,  just a few days away from our first public performance. The production team have been hard at work all week transforming the stage area into a field of luscious green and this morning, the cast set foot on the grass for the first time. The grass has even spread into the foyer areas!

Epsom Downs has over 75 characters, played by a cast of nine. This means a lot of costumes and a very busy wardrobe department – and an average of one costume change every two minutes!

With such a panopoly of characters in the play – everyone from the trainers, the horses to the racecourse itself gets its turn on stage – some of the costumes are rather spectacular.

Designer Tom Rogers has loved having free-reign over the 70’s costumes and garish prints of the decade, and the Playhouse’s stock of  70’s trainers has increased substantially as well as a new collection of bridles!

Seeking inspiration from original period clothing catalogues, Tom also found some amazing photos of the actual 1977 Epsom Derby which provided a base for many of the characters you’ll see on stage. However, a bold creative flair is needed for some the more extraordinary characters such as the Jockeys, the horses, the Racecouse and the Derby itself!

Tom says: “Penny Peters, the very talented maker in the wardrobe department, is currently putting together the final touches to the Derby costume which is definitely the most outlandish of the lot! This character represents the race itself and there is no indication in the script as to what he should look like. My idea was to create a kind of huge peacocks tail for the actor – However, in place of feathers are the different coloured racing silks worn by the 22 Jockeys in the race. Penny has sewn every one of the 22 tiny racing tops as if it was a real one and some of them have very intricate patterns.”

We’ve shared a few costume designs with you below, but we’ve saved the best for when you come to see the show itself!

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You can read a full interview with Tom Rogers on designing Epsom Downs in Salisbury Life Magazine – out 10 May.


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