My Cultural Life: Cora Bissett

What's your favourite film and why? I love the Coen Brothers' Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? because of the sheer height and scale of the storytelling. It manages to weave in all the old myths with this incredible gospel music and an excellent ensemble cast including John Turturro and George Clooney. I'm not a woman to drool over Clooney, but he is top notch at doing comedy and this film is so brilliantly funny.

I also love all three films in The Godfather trilogy and Lars Von Trier's Breaking The Waves for its sheer emotional ability to tear you apart.

The piece of music that means most to you? There is one song by Antony And The Johnsons called 'You Are My Sister' that I can't actually listen to any more because it reminds me too much of the absolutely shitty time I was having in my life a few years ago. My sister gave me the record at the time when I was living in this horrible bedsit with a leaky roof, after going through a horrible relationship break-up and doing really rubbish solo work. It is such an emotional track that was perfect to listen to when your life was falling apart.

Best gig you have ever been to? I saw Patti Smith at the Shepherd's Bush Empire about three years ago and it was incredible - even though she kept going off stage while the band kept on playing. Out of the few times I've seen her live, that was the most phenomenal gig.

That and Johnny Cash at Glastonbury in 1995 when he managed to unite all the crusties and punks and greens on a sunny Sunday afternoon in total respect for his music.

The book that you have read more than once? Right now I'm still reading Eva Luna, the collection of short stories from the Chilean writer Isabelle Allende that I based my Arches play on. I was looking for a source book that had incredibly powerful imagery that could be translated into theatre, and Allende's bold, colourful style just fired up all these ideas in my head. I love the epic sweep of her characters who live, die and suffer in a hugely bold fashion.

Fictional character whose life you'd like to live? This has to be the big doll who sometimes wears a kilt from Play School called Hambel. She was the first proto-feminist character I remember!

Your idea of classic TV? I got the box set of Six Feet Under about an American funeral director's family and I utterly adore it. It is enthralling and total genius. Every single character is so complex and detailed and full of paradox, especially the female actresses. There is not one clich in the series because it has a real quirky, surreal element while also being profound.

Essential website? I buy things off eBay a lot. I was very pleased to buy a copy of my early band Darlingheart's CD for 99p from someone in America, though I would recommend never buying anything from eBay when you've just come home from the pub. I managed to buy black satin sheets which cannot be retrieved by any post-modern twist.

My prediction for the star of the future is... This would have to be Stephanie Robinson, who played my daughter in the STV series High Times. She's a wee actress from Castlemilk and is totally amazing. I think she is doing some work for River City just now and is definitely headed for big things.

Your favourite work of art? This is a very popular image by the Dada and Surrealist artist Man Ray called Le Violon d'Ingres. I love all his photographs of women because they are so sensual. As a cello player myself I particularly like the image of the woman's bare back made to resemble a violin.

The entertainment gadget you can't live without? This could be construed as an entertainment gadget because I enjoy listening to the voices you can programme on my satellite navigation system.

I got sick of the posh voiced Tim and right now I have Ken the Aussie who never gets annoyed with me and is the best passenger I've ever had - if not my best relationship! I'm not a gadget freak at all but I bought a Sat Nav last year when I was touring and needed to make sure I got from venue A to venue B safely because I am such a rotten map reader.

Cora Bissett is an actress, director and singer, and joint winner of the Arches Award for Stage Directors. 'Amada', directed by Bissett and 'Mother, Father, Son', directed by Rosie Kellagher are at The Arches from Tuesday until Saturday; then the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh from April 18-21