I’m Ruth. I’m a Director and Theatre Maker based in Leeds. I usually create theatre for young audiences and Youth Theatre.
I like to make theatre which is surprising, visually exciting and playful. Here are some of my favourite shows for young audiences from recent years:
Molly’s Marvellous Moustache by Andrea Heaton Fidget Theatre. National Tour 2016
Molly wants to be just like the grown ups. With her moustache she can go anywhere and build anything. But if being a grown up means eating olives it might not quite so much fun after all…
“A children’s production that’s delightful from start to finish, a celebration of the imagination…” The Hinkley Times
“Moustachioed magic with oodles of imagination & audience participation” Audience feedback
Angel by Kevin Dyer. Theatre Hullabaloo. National tours 2012 and 2014
A heart-warming new play about childhood and ageing told the story of an unexpected friendship between and 12-year-old girl called Bill and Miriam, a woman with dementia who lives in a house full of paper.
“Angel is an unqualified success… This is children’s theatre at its best!” – British Theatre Guide, 2012
Stuck by Mike KennyNational Tour 2010
Stuck was incredible and true story of conjoined twins Chang and Eng told by a bearded lady. The script was nominated for a Writer’s Guild Award and this production toured to youth centres and rural venues.
“I thought it was very different but I liked it.” – Young Person from Westbury Youth Centre.
I am co-Artistic Director of Fidget Theatre where we make witty and welcoming work for children and family audiences. We have been commissioned by The Civic, Barnsley to make a new Christmas show, Jack Frost, and in 2019 we will be touring Bird’s Nest Billy, a show about siblings, change and a boy with 3 magic wishes.
I also run a youth theatre, the Carriageworks Young Theatre Makers (CYTM). Since 2009 I have created over 30 original productions with the young people; studio shows, performances in non-theatre spaces, performances in response to commissions and main stage productions. I offer the young people a rich starting point and then lead collaborative devising workshops, providing space for their ideas, before refining the material, rehearsing and directing the productions.
“CYTM shows [are] clearly developed with the young actors’ involvement and incorporate their own ideas. Ruth manages to get the balance right between a genuine interest in what young people have to say and a professional script and production that they feel proud to be part of.” – Parent of CYTM member 2015
Stand out productions include:
Butterfly by Ruth Cooper and CYTM. Carriageworks Theatre, Leeds. July 2016
A butterfly flaps its wings in Leeds and…
How could I have known that was going to happen? How could I have stopped it? Just stayed in my room all day, sat still? We can’t ever know. We can’t rehearse life.
This production featured a chorus of ‘sculptors’ who personified The Butterfly Effect and altered the characters’ actions and lives. A fascinating and bold exploration of free-
will and control.
She tried to cover my eyes by Ruth Cooper and CYTM. Leeds Town Hall. January 2008
I was commissioned to create a performance as part of the Holocaust Memorial Day event at Leeds Town hall. With the youth theatre we created a compelling performance using shadow images exploring young people’s responses to meeting and interviewing Holocaust survivors.
“…poignant and moving… The design and direction of the drama had such impact -the whole audience could not fail to be affected.” Audience member.
What People Think by Ruth Cooper and CYTM. Carriageworks Theatre, Leeds. July 2017
In retuning to our hypothesis, people who do not feel embarrassment, are able to lie and lie again, get away with it and ultimately have the more successful life.
It’s quite depressing when you put it like that.
This witty production told the contrasting stories of sibling who had very different reactions to embarrassment and shame throughout their lives. What are the consequences if you are caught out in a lie, but feel no shame?
“I have so much fun with the people here and pushing myself to creative limits. The activities are interesting and challenging and result in excellent end products.” – CYTM member 2015
Through my youth theatre work I have developed a strong use of the ensemble, a bold aesthetic and a keen sense of what stories and themes resonate with and inspire young people.