Culture vulture

20th May 2005 at 01:00
The Spanish Shakespeare has Catrina Garrett spellbound

Loving Lorca

If I was on a desert island I would take the complete works of Federico Garcia Lorca (pictured). He was such a brilliant playwright as well as a poet. I discovered him through my training in drama. I saw his play The House of Bernarda Alba when I was quite young. I've taught Blood Wedding and put it on. What I love is the combination of beautiful language and brilliant theatre. He was killed very young in the Spanish Civil War. The Spanish say if he'd lived he would have been their Shakespeare.

Dramatic impression

The most powerful theatrical experience of my life was when I was doing A-levels. This extraordinary vagabond theatre company called Footsbarn turned up: they all tumbled out of their vans, and their children tumbled out too, and they performed the most brilliant A Midsummer Night's Dream. I love visual theatre and mime: Lindsey Kemp is brilliant and the group I like now in England is Theatre de Complicite. Their production of The Three Lives of Lucie Cabrol, from a story by John Berger, stunned me.

Best book

The book I've most enjoyed in recent years is Fugitive Pieces, a first novel by Anne Michaels. It took my breath away.

Favourite films

I love the Coen brothers. Blood Simple is still one of my favourites. I like their quirkiness, the unexpected. One of the most extraordinary films I have ever seen was Paul Thomas Anderson's Magnolia. I loved how it went into the surreal, very unexpectedly.

Treat in store

Next summer we're hoping to have a poetry slam in Plymouth, where people just get up and perform. I took some students to a performance poetry workshop organised by Apples and Snakes, and we've got another one coming up. The idea is that our students will then spread performance poetry through workshops in primary schools. This is new territory for me. I've never seen poetry be so theatrical, so gripping and exciting.

Catrina Garrett, 45, teaches citizenship through drama at Stoke Damerel community college in Plymouth. She was talking to Karen Gold. Details of Apples and Snakes performance poetry can be found at Footsbarn theatre company is now based in France; for details contact Footsbarn Travelling Theatre, 'La Chaussee', 03190 Herisson, France

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