Occupation and Brief Resume: Artistic Director of the Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse Theatres from 2003 – present. Gemma’s tenure has encompassed artistic renaissance, extended reach into Merseyside’s communities, and the nurturing and production of new work while building a powerful reputation for Liverpool’s theatre both nationally and internationally. Recently the Everyman Rep was brought back, seeing Gemma direct productions such as Paint Your Wagon. In 2014 Gemma was made an Honourary Fellow of Liverpool John Moores University. All this ability, yet she still can’t attach a plug … apparently!
Good film I’ve watched recently: Honeyland. Don’t be fooled by the summary. A documentary about a woman collecting honey in Macedonia doesn’t sound that exciting but it’s electric and so moving.
One of the best films I’ve ever watched: Where to begin? I love films and happily binge on them for hours on end. I think horror films get a bad press so I’m going for a classy lockdown horror night trio of: Rosemary’s Baby, Don’t Look Now and Get Out.
Got to be good if he’s in it: Joaquin Phoenix.
Got to be good if she’s in it: Isabelle Huppert.
TV Series not to be missed and why: Succession. Dark. Shocking. HILARIOUS!! Great acting. Sharpest script EVER! Relevant. Series Two is even better than Series One.
Also Stephen Graham’s performance in The Virtues is just incredible. Loved this series. Beautiful acting from the whole cast including our very own Mickey Starke. So moving. Important subject matter too.
Best ever comedy series and why: Too many to choose from but watching comedy is something I did with my son a lot before he left home. Missing him very much through Lockdown as he now lives in London, so choosing The Office and Peep Show in memory of many a night laughing with him.
Funniest Stand Up Comedian: He’s not exactly traditional “Stand- up” but I would travel a very long way to see Daniel Kitson. He’s a remarkable and hilarious story-teller and he also manages to make me feel better about the world. I have also always wanted to see our very own Pauline Daniels live. Have loved directing her in the past but have yet to see her “stand-up”.
3 great albums you must listen to: Stevie Wonder- Innervisions, The Beatles-Abbey Road, Roberta Flack- First Take
3 songs you must listen to:
Nick Cave –Into My Arms
Joni Mitchell- Case of You.
Earth, Wind and Fire – September
A great band/artist you need to check out and why: If you haven’t listened to Benjamin Clementine I would really recommend him. I was a bit late discovering him but I’ve been playing him all the time through Lockdown.
Best artist/band you’ve seen live and why: I went to a Jeff Buckley concert that rates not only as one of the best musical performances I have ever seen but one of the best live performances of any genre. He seemed possessed by genius. Unforgettable.
Best Novel: This is impossible! Too many! But everyone should read To Kill a Mockingbird.
Best Biography: Recently read a great biography of Dickens by Peter Ackroyd that I would recommend.
Best Autobiography: I really enjoy reading Patti Smith’s books. Would recommend her autobiography, Just Kids.
A Single Poem to Inspire: Still I Rise– Maya Angelou (Click on the image of Maya Angelou and hear Serena Williams read Still I Rise – CHR).
Your signature dish: I am a rubbish cook. My signature is dish is called: “ But I followed the recipe exactly….”
FAVOURITE RESTAURANT YOU CAN’T WAIT TO BOOK A TABLE IN: I love Maray. Never had anything less than absolutely delicious there. I like their cocktails too.
A good recommendation to chill out with would be … Cuba Libre because I have a very sweet tooth. This is as sophisticated as I get. “Rum and Coke” in old money but with a decent dark rum, ice and a swipe of lime around the rim, it’s my favourite.
ACTIVITY SUGGESTION FOR FILLING IN THE DAY WITH KIDS OR NOT: My work is my life. I’m not great at activities or hobbies. I love reading, watching films and going for long walks. This questionnaire has revealed how boring I am (Many things, Gemma, all of them good … but never boring! – CHR)!
YOUR GREATEST DIY ACHIEVEMENT THAT HAS SURVIVED THE TEST OF TIME and what made you attempt it: This does not exist! I challenge anyone to be less good at DIY than me.
SOMETHING THAT MIGHT INTEREST YOU ABOUT ME IS: I have never lived anywhere longer than Liverpool. I was born in the East End of London (hence my allegiance to West Ham Utd.) but lived all round the South of England (40 addresses before I left school) as a child. I have now lived in Merseyside for 17 years so feel more at home here than anywhere.
HOLIDAY OF A LIFETIME – when this is all over – My partner and I have really missed seeing our sons through lockdown. Maybe New York for the 4 of us. See some great theatre, go to some great gigs and eat at some fantastic restaurants. However, if we haven’t won the lottery, then maybe a cottage in the Highlands, some hearty breakfasts and some fabulous long walks all together.
3 LUXURIES YOU’D TAKE WITH YOU TO A DESERT ISLAND AND WHY (Nothing that might aid an escape, messaging or making contact with civilisation allowed): My Cello. I’d like to learn to play it better.
An ipod with a great music selection on it including my partner’s and son’s music.
A kindle with lots of reading material on it.
A PIECE OF WISDOM TO PASS ON: Keep Learning.
ONE THING YOU HOPE COMES OUT OF ALL OF THIS: An understanding of our shared humanity.