My essentials: Stephen Oliver’s cultural picks

No 20 | 65, professional theatre director, actor, vocal coach and drama teacher

Stephen Oliver
Stephen Oliver

1. Book

With my obsession for all things related to crime and investigation I am currently reading Traces by Patricia, a forensic ecologist who with her knowledge of the natural world, uses traces of flora and fauna to help detectives solve cases. It may seem strange that someone like me, who has spent most of my life performing and directing fictional works, should be drawn to non fiction. I am not alone in my interest in crime and forensics, my daughters have inherited this fascination too. We can now commit the perfect crime and get away with it lol.

2. Film

Love foreign films and indie films far more than the regular blockbuster movies. Internationally it has to be ‘The Secrets in their Eyes’ (the Argentinian release) and my favourite film of all time, ‘Twelve Angry Men’ with the legendary Henry Fonda – I was lucky enough to direct the play version of this many years ago. I love the way the plot slowly unfolds and the film is matched by Sidney Lumet’s amazing photography.

3. Internet 

I have a total dislike for influencers; I think people call themselves influencers when they don’t want to work for a living and am glad to say no influencer has ever influenced me to do a single thing. I’m a massive YouTube watcher and love anything to do with true crime. For humour I’m an avid follower of the Canadian comedian, actor and singer Charlotte Dobre, she brightens my day.

4. Music

My current production of ‘Breaking the Code’ is a quintessentially English story and is full of the music of Ralph Vaughan Williams. His music takes me back to where I grew up in Gloucestershire (and Vaughan Williams’ birthplace). His Fantasia on a theme of Thomas Tallis is what I want at my funeral when I go.

5. Place

I was lucky enough to go to China a few years ago. I loved the complete difference in culture, the food, the history, the people and would love to revisit. Other favourite places, Ireland, Barcelona, Durban, Montreal and New York and Malta, Gozo of course.