Each month we talk to a new character in town to discuss living and working in the city. This month it’s Roxana Silbert from Birmingham Repertory Theatre
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF
I’m Roxana Silbert, artistic director at Birmingham Repertory Theatre. I’m responsible for creating an artistic strategy for the theatre, programming it and directing plays.
HOW DO YOU GET INTO TOWN?
I live in the Jewellery Quarter so it’s a handy 10 minute walk for me.
HOW’S THE COMMUTE?
I don’t have a car so I walk a lot. I love walking and I will always take a canal route where possible – even if it takes longer. I love walking by the water. I’m quite new to Birmingham, so the buses remain a mystery to me. I use the trains a lot which I find pretty reliable and occasionally I splash out on a taxi if it’s late at night.
IS BRUM A GOOD PLACE TO WORK IN?
Birmingham is the friendliest place I’ve ever been and I’ve worked all over England and Scotland. I find people exceedingly kind, hospitable and funny. It’s a great city to run a theatre because it’s got such a diverse, eclectic audience and there’s an astonishingly vibrant cultural scene. Not only is there world class ballet, music, theatre and art. There’s also a fantastic fringe with people really challenging the boundaries of art and culture.
Saints in St Paul’s Square has the country’s best barista and super Teapigs tea. It also does lots of healthy things and some very naughty cakes, so it’s a perfect mix.
I tend to have lunch on the run, so it’s usually soup or a sandwich from Urban Coffee in Hockley. I like having meetings there because it’s light and there’s a really nice vibe about it. If I’m taking someone to lunch I go to Portofinos in Frederick Street which is an authentic Italian with good food, reasonable prices and fantastic service.
At the weekends I will take long walks through the countryside or climb a hill in Scotland.
WHERE’S YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF THE CITY?
I love the Jewellery Quarter. I find it very atmospheric. I adore old factories – the scale of the buildings and the size of the windows. I also like that it’s higgledy-piggledy and not corporate and over-designed. It’s grown up organically and some of it’s very smart and some of it is still very shabby. The history radiates from the buildings and the fact that many of them are brick makes it a very warm place.
I don’t really do after work drinks but I do buy very nice red wine from Connolly’s in Livery Street and glug it at home with my supper.
HOW CAN THE CITY BE MADE BETTER?
Birmingham is very well provided for as a city – there’s no shortage of places to go, drink and eat. But it’s not easy to get around by public transport and it’s tricky to get home after shows at night. A better, later, more coherent transport system would make a massive difference and make people less dependent on cars which would ease the congestion.