- Traverse Theatre
Ruth McEwan is a Senior Producer at Traverse Theatre.
She graduated with a BA (Hons) Drama & Theatre Arts from Queen Margaret University in 2007.
What sparked your interest in performing arts?
I always enjoyed dancing and music, and was encouraged through my interest in the drama aspects of English lessons at school. My interest peaked at the same time that my school also introduced GCSE Drama and A Level Performing Arts.
Why did you choose to study at QMU?
A family friend was already studying the Drama and Theatre Arts course at QMU, and being in Edinburgh just made sense for the opportunities it presented to make the most of the rich cultural life of the city.
What did you enjoy most about your course?
At the time, the course was about a 50/50 split between theory and practical, and as someone who was still exploring my interests it was perfect. I was able to experiment with all aspects of making performance, learning classic texts, forming a foundation of critical theory, and some practical application of skills in my final two years, specialising in literary management.
Our year group were especially close. I truly made lifelong friendships and have also been fortunate to work with many of my peers in the professional world too!
What are your most memorable experiences of being a QMU student?
"I had some incredible tutors, all of whom had worked or were actively working in the sector which was completely invaluable. Honoured to have been taught by Ksenija Horvat, Diane Torr, Gary Gilchrist, Jo Clifford, Steve Cramer and many more inspiring figures."
Some of the more memorable projects were making our own site specific performances, writing and recording a radio play, producing short films and a mini festival to screen them.
The opportunities to work with other degree subjects in the creative industries school (such as Acting and Stage Management) were always exciting too.
We were frequently encouraged to create our own productions too, outwith the curriculum and they remain some of the most enjoyable memories for me.
Tell us more about your career path since leaving QMU.
I graduated in 2007 and got my first job at the Traverse in 2009. In between, I worked and volunteered for Imaginate on their International Children's Festival and the Fringe Society in their press office the year the box office broke.
I've been able to create my career path through the Traverse, starting out in dramaturgy and administration roles, working to my current role as Senior Producer.
I've been particularly proud to be part of an organisation that is continually evolving, and have been able to be part of some incredible productions; David Greig and Gordon McIntyre's 'Midsummer', Stef Smith's 'Swallow' and 'Locker Room Talk' by Gary McNair.
It's also been wonderful to see the incredible impact of projects like Class Act and First Stages, which encourage creativity at all ages and experience levels. Seeing the impact of Class Act with young people locally and internationally never fails to amaze and inspire me.
I'm always incredibly proud of the Traverse's festival season in August, it occupies an unique position amongst all the festivals activity and the work presented is often the most joyful, challenging and important as you'll see anywhere in the world. I took great pride in hosting a performance of 'Locker Room Talk' at Latitude Festival in 2017. And, I never tire of seeing Traverse plays being produced all around the world as a result of us first bringing them to life.
Tell us more about what your role as Senior Producer at the Traverse involves?
I coordinate the breadth of the programme of work from Traverse productions and projects, partner company programme, festival partnerships, commissions and engagement activity.
I also work with a team to produce the work that the Traverse has commissioned, at varying levels of production including work in progress, local presentations and touring on a domestic and international level.
I'm connected to a vibrant and exciting network of companies and artists in the Scottish theatre and performance sector, and am also delighted that my position at the Traverse allows me to be connected to companies and artists across the world.
What advice would you give to students and new graduates starting out?
If you're interested in theatre and performing arts, see, read and ingest as much work as you can. It can be just as valuable to experience something you didn't enjoy as much as something you loved.
And, if you see someone doing the job you want to do, contact them and ask them how to get to where they are.
Join a network or community, even on an informal level.
Don't worry about being too specific about what job you want, your interests and skills can be broad and varied.