Portrait of the artist
'Bureaucracy is the greatest threat to art today - we're such a box-ticking society'
Interview by Natalie Hanman
Tuesday 21 November 2006 00.09 GMT
What got you started?
A play called The Suit, directed by Barney Simon.
What was your first big breakthrough?
Winning the James Menzies-Kitchin award for young directors in 2000, which enabled me to direct Top Girls by Caryl Churchill.
Who or what have you sacrificed for your art?
What one song would you choose as the soundtrack to your life?
Ain't Nobody by Chaka Khan.
What's your favourite film and why?
Fletch with Chevy Chase, because the Moon River part still makes me laugh.
What cultural tip would you give a tourist about Britain's arts scene?
Vinyl or MP3?
Vinyl, every time. Some bits of history are worth preserving, and vinyl is going to be wiped out pretty soon - so someone's got to stand up for it.
What's the greatest threat to art today?
Bureaucracy. It's an extension of political correctness - the world we now live in is such a box-ticking society. Surely the arts should be the most important thing.
What work of art would you most like to own?
Any late Matisse.
Best thing on TV at the moment?
Complete this sentence: At heart I'm just a frustrated ...
What do you know that no one else does?
How much I love my husband.
In the movie of your life, who plays you?
Who do you envy?
People who work nine till five.
Who would you most like to work with?
Paul Newman. He's one of the greatest actors we've ever been lucky enough to have, and to work with him on stage would be amazing.
What's the best advice anyone ever gave you?
When I was assisting, the director Dominic Cooke told me: "Always try to work with people who are better than you." I will always remember that.
Born London, 1976
Career Directed Top Girls at the Battersea Arts Centre in 2000. Artistic director of the Southwark Playhouse, 2001-2004; artistic director of the Gate Theatre, London. Currently directing Eugene Ionesco's The Chairs at the Gate until December 16.
High point "I hope I haven't had it yet"
Low point "Fringe theatre wages"