My essentials: Jean-Marc Cafa’s cultural picks

No 45 | Jean-Marc Cafa, 35, Freelance director and arts educator

1. Book

I am currently fixated on leadership-management models and how they translate in the theatre and arts education realms. I’ve spent a considerable amount of time distilling the needs of the local theatre scene and theatre training (my postgraduate dissertation explored a development framework for Maltese arts education leaders). This explains my current bedside literature: ‘Everyone Deserves a Great Manager: The 6 Critical Practices for Leading a Team’, ‘Management of Organisational Behaviour’, and then a dose of director ‘Ivo Van Hove on Stage’ for good measure.

2. TV/Film

My relationship with film is complex, as it tends to many of my needs. I watch movies at the cinema often. Aside from the sea, it is the one place I truly switch off. On the other hand, there are a number of 80s and 90s science fiction and animated movies (and Harry Potter, of course) that I return to often; they energise me and remind me to find the child within. I also use film and TV series for research when working on theatre pieces, therefore I go where the themes take me. In general, I am a Quentin Tarantino and Wes Anderson fan.

3. Internet 

I don’t really watch TV – I haven’t had a TV license in about ten years I believe… I’ve no clue what channel I would even prefer to be honest! I’ve recently also gone off Netflix series and the likes… but I do like my TED talks and NT Live at home, and I am also up for good series that is of the ‘psychological thriller’ nature. One series that comes to mind that struck a chord recently is Mare of Easttown; Kate Winslet’s performance here is a force to be reckoned with.

4. Music

Mika and Michael Jackson are my all-time guilty pleasures – they present an element of theatricality. However, my idol in this respect would be Stephen Sondheim. Having grown up as a hardcore musical theatre fan, I discovered Sondheim in my early teens and spent hours exploring his music and lyrics. His works are a playground for an actor and a director. From time to time, I revisit various works; lately, I have returned to ‘Company’.

5. Place

Italy – the little villages on the coast. The lifestyle is great, the coffee is great, the food is great and the wine is great... what is there not to like? And I can get to Florence and Rome quite easily, which is always a plus. I feel balance when I’m on Italian turf; I collect my thoughts, do a lot of walking and reading. There is no denying I am a child of the Mediterranean. I would love to retire there or spend my summers there at the very least.