Backstage Production Arts student fights her way to the top

8th April 2022

A former Backstage Production Arts student from Stratford-upon-Avon College has secured an Assistant Stage Manager role at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry thanks to the skills she learnt on her course.

Ruth Porter studied at the college from 2016 to 2018 and has gone on to train and work for top organisations. Her current role as Assistant Stage Manager is for Fighting Irish; a show about a family’s fight for identity, both in and out of the boxing ring.

Ruth Porter

Ruth’s career journey started before attending the College. At 14 she followed her brother when he started volunteering at a local theatre and loved the backstage side of things.

When choosing where to study, she chose Stratford-upon-Avon College: “It seemed like the right place for me.” This was largely to do with the open event: “The open day was shown off so well! It was inclusive and practical and really fun. We did follow spotting and moving lights and got to play with equipment, so I knew it was a practical course which was perfect for me. The course also allowed me to explore all elements of Backstage Production Arts too.”

Because of the range of learning opportunities on the course, though initially interested in Sound, Ruth began to notice a shift in her passion. After being assigned Stage Manager and Deputy Stage Manager roles over various productions at college, Ruth realised: “I am good at this, and I enjoy it, and it is really something I could do professionally”.

After completing the course, Ruth secured a place at the prestigious Royal Birmingham Conservatoire to study Stage Management, from which she graduated in June 2021. After graduating, Ruth received a message from a staff Stage Manager at the Conservatoire who asked if she had any work coming up. As she was free, they recommended her to the company Paines Plough. An hour later she had been booked to do three weeks of tech and one week of previews: “It was amazing as a new graduate to get straight to work!”

Ruth continued to work with other companies like Imagine Theatre and eventually went on to catch the attention of the Belgrade Theatre who offered her work as an Assistant Stage Manager (ASM) for Fighting Irish and then to go on to their next show Nothello.

Ruth is so happy to be working on the show: “It has been amazing to be an ASM for Fighting Irish. It is an incredible show to work on. And from a show about boxing to go onto a Shakespeare inspired community show like Nothello, well there is always something new!”

For any students interested in a similar career, Ruth passes on some advice: “There is something that sticks with me every time and something that H (Helena Lowrence, college lecturer) said to us in first year in one of the first ever lectures. It was ‘Remember you don’t know everything, you are always learning’ and that has stuck with me from my whole time at college and university and it’s so true!”

Helena Lowrence is so happy to see Ruth doing well: “Ruth was always a hard worker and such a team player. It is extremely exciting to see her achieve and do so well!”

Congratulations Ruth on your continued success!

Find our more about the College's Performance & Production Arts courses: SUAC Onstage