Extracts from Chi and I by acclaimed actor, director and playwright, David Wood : Part 3, Life off stage – 1963
Our dressing room was a small hut behind the theatre, also used as a store for crates of beer bottles, and also the headquarters of the wig department. We had regular enjoyable conversations with Rosemary Harris, who had taken over from Joan Greenwood in Uncle Vanya, which had proved so successful in the first season that Olivier revived it.
Few people realised at this time that Olivier was using, in the nicest possible way, Chichester to prepare for his subsequent directorship of the National Theatre. Apart from the major stars he attracted to Chichester were younger actors who were to become the nucleus of his National company. Derek Jacobi, Robert Lang and Robert Stephens were playing relatively small roles at Chichester, but would become stars of the Old Vic and eventually the brand new complex on the South Bank. To be amongst this rich array of talent, as well as familiar faces from television, was the most exciting experience I could have wished for. Being an extra was a magical opportunity to see these people working, and to feel part of it all. Even our costume fittings felt special, supervised by Ivan Alderman and his chief cutter Stephen Skaptason, who later both ran the National Theatre wardrobe.
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