I’m Ruth. I’m a Writer, Director and Theatre Maker based in Leeds. I create theatre for young audiences and Youth Theatre.
I like to make theatre which is bold, thought-provoking and playful.
I run a youth theatre, the Carriageworks Young Theatre Makers (CYTM) where I write and direct productions with young people. Since 2009 I have created over 35 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 writing a script and directing the high-quality productions. Stand out productions include:
My arms are killing me. And my shoulders. Actually, my whole body. My whole body is killing me. Do you think this is how they felt? In the dancing plague? Like their own body was killing them?
At Leeds Academy pupils are taking an exam, some are nervous, some calm. Someone starts moving. Shaking. Dancing. Then, one-by-one the other pupils too start dancing. They can’t help themselves. Minutes turn to hours and hours turn to days. They can’t stop.
An exploration of mass hysteria, Epidemic was by turns witty and thought-provoking and performed by a cast of 40 young theatre makers.
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 became The Butterfly Effect and altered the characters’ actions and lives. A fascinating and bold exploration of free-will and control.
“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
She tried to cover my eyes 2008
I was commissioned to create a performance as part of the Holocaust Memorial Day event at Leeds Town hall. I created a compelling performance using shadow images and a script 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 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 play told the contrasting stories of siblings 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 rich and resonant stories which inspire and engage the young people and their audiences.
I have started to write YA fiction and my story The Magpie was recently shortlisted for WriteMentor’s short story competition.
I am co-Artistic Director of Fidget Theatre where I work with my Co-Director Andrea Heaton to write and direct witty and welcoming, participatory theatre for children and family audiences. Recent productions include Molly’s Marvellous Moustache, Bird’s Nest Billy and Jack Frost and more information can be found at http://www.fidgettheatre.com
Molly’s Marvellous Moustache 2016
“A children’s production that’s delightful from start to finish, a celebration of the imagination…” The Hinkley Times
Bird’s Nest Billy 2019
“A great example of how to engage and hold an early years audience” -Emma Forster, Arts Council England
Jack Frost 2018/2019/2020
This most magical production is utterly enchanting – Sheffield Star.
Photos by David Lindsay