Cultural Life: Deborah Warner, Director

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The Independent Culture

Books: I can't read while rehearsing and so all I'm managing at the moment is a page or two of Amanda Vickery's 'Behind Closed Doors' – a vivid and quirky domestic history of Georgian England. I was invited last October to go to the High Arctic with Cape Farewell. For months after I read nothing but books on climate change and the Arctic/Antarctic experience: Tim Flannery's 'The Weather Makers', 'With Scott to the Pole', a wonderful collection of Herbert Pontings photographs of the 1910-1913 expedition, and Stephen J Pyne's 'The Ice: a Journey to Antarctica'.

Opera: I loved the Royal Opera House's 'Eugene Onegin' and the ENO's 'A Dog's Heart'. Both superb, compelling and intensely theatrical productions.

Music: I was given the complete works of The Pogues last Christmas, and now I'm completely addicted. The anarchic rush of their music together with its wildfire energy seems to map the vivacity and unstoppable urge of the 18th century.

Dance: I jump at any chance to see Pina Bausch's work, and so I'm thrilled to hear the rumour that we may be treated to a retrospective of all her works in the London 2012 Festival. I think I'll go to all of them. I also hugely admire my friend Kim Brandstrup's work, and adored his new piece at the Royal Opera House last year. He was the choreographer for my 'Death in Venice' and spends a lot of time trying to convert me to classical ballet. I'm not there yet!

Architecture: I went to Russia for the first time last year and the gold and mirrored rooms of the Hermitage Museum [in St Petersburg] against the blizzard outside still haunt my dreams.

Deborah Warner directs 'The School for Scandal' at the Barbican Centre, London (, 11 May to 18 June