Culture vulture

14th November 2003 at 00:00
Best play ever

The first big West End musical I saw was Windy City with Dennis Waterman. I thought: "Wow - this is what theatre smells like, this is what theatre looks like, this is big, this is incredible." My dad dragged me to the D'Oyly Carte's Gilbert and Sullivan productions throughout my childhood, and a youth leader in Poplar, east London, took us to all sorts of things.

Now I go to the theatre in Cambridge fortnightly. If there's a ticket going, I'll have it. I take children from school a lot. Some of them are lit up by it: it opens a whole new world. I'm in several local theatre groups and I've been in shows including Half a Sixpence and Me and My Girl.

Reading matters

I've just read Brick Lane, by Monica Ali, because I grew up near there, and When We Were Orphans, by Kazuo Ishiguro. And Unless by Carol Shields. A couple of us at school have put up a shelf for staff to swap books. It means at lunchtime you're saying, "I enjoyed that" or, "That was very harrowing", instead of moaning.

Easy listening

I listen to classical and easy jazz. I saw Stacey Kent recently and I like Jamie Cullen. I put Haydn's violin concerto in C major on whenever I need to be energised. It whisks you along: off it goes, and off you go with it.

Best film ever

High Society. I love it. I want to be in it. And The Sound of Music.

Singing along

A group of staff from school have been to Sing-A-Long-A Sound of Music twice. All the words are on screen, even when the nuns sing in Latin. At the start the camera comes over Salzburg, you see the green hills, then a little dot, and the whole audience stands up and goes, "She's coming, she's coming", and, "Sing for us Julie". Everyone gets a piece of edelweiss to wave and party poppers for when the Captain and Maria first kiss. People bring torches to shine when the Nazis hunt the Von Trapp children in the graveyard. Our deputy head came last year, dressed as a brown paper package tied up with string. We were so loud that when I took some kids to the ballet a month later, one of the stewards said: "I remember you from The Sound of Music."

Lesley Ford, 44, is expressive arts co-ordinator at Arbury primary school, Cambridge. She was talking to Karen Gold. Sing-A-Long tour details:

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