Creative director and theatre-maker
Scott Ramsay is a creative director and theatre-maker. He is the Owner and Director of People and Stories, a Portsmouth-based creative company.
Scott graduated from Queen Margaret College in 1994 with a Diploma in Drama (Stage Management).
Over the past 30 years, he has created and presented work with renowned theatre and TV companies, working in a variety of creative specialisms.
What are your most memorable experiences of being a QMC student?
When I started my diploma at Clermiston Campus, as it was then, I hadn’t anywhere to reside. As luck would have it, a teacher’s flat above the drama department became vacant and within a day I’d made it home. Living ‘above the shop’ allowed me to get stuck into every activity that was going on. It was great fun and very rewarding.
"One of my fondest memories was working backstage for a rousing production of Macbeth, with the brilliant Kevin McKidd in the title role. One of the actors became unwell so I had to step, unrehearsed, to play Macduff. All went well until we realised, I couldn’t safely deliver the intricate sword sequence at the climax of the play. Thankfully the show’s fight director was on campus, so we dressed her in a matching costume. When we got to the scene, I stepped behind a pillar on set and she stepped out the other side, conducted the fight, then vice-versa."
We still laugh about it today, but it was an important show.
We knew that industry experts were coming to judge the quality of our work. The department was going through a degree validation process. Thankfully we passed with flying colours and the department had its first Drama Degree course.
Tell us more about your career path since leaving QMC.
I’ve always had an eclectic interest in theatre and theatre-making, so it’s perhaps unsurprising that I’ve explored so many facets over the last 30 years, including stage and production management, writing, directing, producing, designing, teaching, and running venues.
My first job after graduating was to join the wonderful production management team at the National Theatre. That would provide a springboard onto many other opportunities, including the Royal Shakespeare Company, Phoenix Dance Theatre, and English Touring Theatre.
"There have been many highlights; including Ian McKellen’s world tour of King Lear, which I put together for the RSC. However, my biggest thrill comes from writing and directing new work, and seeing audiences respond to it."
Tell us more about People and Stories?
When the Pandemic hit the world, I took a leap of faith and set up my own company, People and Stories. I’d just finished running the New Theatre Royal in Portsmouth and realised the theatre industry was in for a tumultuous period, so I wanted a vehicle where I could change focus and pivot quickly with creative projects when needed. Thankfully it worked.
At People and Stories, we make and support cultural activities for UK communities and are active across 35 regions in the UK. We reached over 90,000 people through our efforts in our first year, despite COVID.
The work is as eclectic as ever, however I’ve been able to devote far more time to things I’m very passionate about, such as the Climate Emergency, and engaging harder-to-reach communities. And most importantly, time to write and to experiment with new ways of working. These are interesting times, with lots of interesting stories to tell.
What advice would you give to students and new graduates starting out?
Look up. Look up and go see the theatre work happening around the UK, and in its different forms. Sounds obvious, but few do it. Cultural reference points are important, inspiration too. Good, bad, there’s always something to learn.
Look up too, to the places you find yourself, on tour, on location, or on residency. Try to experience something of each town and city, and converse with new people. You’ll be creating great memories to look back and draw on, and it’s a privilege.