Youth Theatre

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 original productions with CYTM; 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:

The Never Was

During 2020’s lockdown I continued to work with CYTM and we remotely devised and produced our very first film, The Never Was.

Future Historians 2021

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Future Historians explored three different visions of the future, in which CYTM’s Coronavirus Time Capsules were discovered by people who needed them.

Epidemic 2018

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?

An exploration of mass hysteria, Epidemic was by turns witty and thought-provoking and performed by a cast of 40 young theatre makers.

Butterfly 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 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

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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.

Photos by David Lindsay

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