Culture vulture

23rd April 2004 at 01:00
Will Motley takes a quixotic approach with his pupils

Best books ever

My two favourites have to be Don Quixote (by Miguel de Cervantes) and The Glass Bead Game by Herman Hesse. I love the absurdity of Quixote, the power of his imagination. My Years 5 and 6 pupils have performed a version of Quixote, and once they got to grips with the language they were really into it. The Glass Bead Game is the other side of the coin: so rational, so classical, an attempt to discard all that is modern and superfluous.

Best film ever

Fanny and Alexander (pictured) by Ingmar Bergman. It's a bit slushy, though it has a wonderful dark side. There's lots about theatre in it which is really appealing.

Best event

A recent antiques and fine art show at Olympia, London, which had an exhibition of work by Keith Vaughan, the neo-Romantic artist. I've collected quite a few drawings by him and other neo-Romantics over the years, though they are way out of my price range now. I also enjoyed the Titian exhibition at the National Gallery, because it brought home how special his use of colour really is.


A cabinet of curiosities which I have set up in my lab at school and which I add to constantly. I've got about 800 objects in it, from a chimpanzee's skull to gruesome implements for pulling teeth to fossilised dinosaur poo.

The pupils love it.

Treat in store

The El Greco exhibition (at the National Gallery, London, until May 23). He has a strange, unusual way of looking at the world. I've seen a lot of poor quality reproductions so it will be good to see it in the flesh.

Something to share with pupils I've been backstage at the National Theatre and got a lot out of it, so I'm planning to take pupils who like to work behind the scenes on our shows.

I've always enjoyed making everybody who does anything towards productions feel part of the team.

Will Motley, 41, teaches science, English and Latin and is head of drama at Farleigh preparatory school, Hampshire. He was talking to Elaine Williams

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today