Culture vulture

9th September 2005 at 01:00
Theatre that packs a punch gets Alex Boyd-Williams excited

Best book ever

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving, my favourite writer, was recommended by my music teacher when I was 17 and I couldn't get over how much I loved it. Irving creates such bizarre, quirky people but is not afraid to be sentimental. I could not be friends with anyone who didn't like this book.

Best film ever

Annie Hall because of its structure. I admire the way Woody Allen manages to tell a warm, clever and funny story in less than 90 minutes. Watching this movie at 18 was hugely influential in my decision to follow a profession that would allow me to tell stories to an audience.

Best on stage

At Millfield, we're well located for performances at Bristol, Bath, Stratford-upon-Avon and London. The most remarkable play that I've seen recently is Martin McDonagh's The Pillowman at the National with Jim Broadbent and David Tennant. It is brilliant, vivid, horrific: a perfect example for students of the power of theatre.

Best on the web

Theatre de Complicite's website,, has a great pack on devising theatre that is a fantastic resource for building a strong sense of ensemble with GCSE and ASA2 groups. We have a lot of athletic students here and we can make exciting physical theatre.

To share with children

William Nicholson's The Wind on Fire trilogy, an extraordinary story with amazing characters. I dearly want to take a show to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with students. I love the challenge of getting up at 9am, cramming in six shows in a day, going to bed at 4am and repeating the whole thing the next day.

Treat in store

We're taking about 40 students to New York in October, to see three shows on Broadway and do dance and musical theatre workshops.

Alex Boyd-Williams, 30, is a former actor and head of drama at Millfield, an independent school in Street, Somerset. Interview by Elaine Williams

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