Senior Lecturer in Design for Theatre & Screen

  • Academic
  • Professional Practice
Ruth Paton

Ruth is a UCA lecturer in theatre design and has a 20-year career in production design for theatre and opera.


As a theatre designer, Ruth has made a body of work in response to music, mostly opera, which use painting and sculptural elements to underpin narrative. Long-term collaborations include those with directors Tom Guthrie, Mark Down, Karen Gillingham, George Peck, Hazel Gould and Tim Yealland and for companies including The Royal Opera House, English National Opera, Garsington Opera, I Fagiolini, Longborough Opera Festival, Princeton University, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the Academy of Ancient Music.

She has designed puppets for Longborough Festival Opera, the Barbican and LSO St Lukes. As an Artistic Associate at Blind Summit Theatre, Ruth has collaborated on productions for Bregenz Festival, Spoleto Festival and the Hollywood Bowl, LA.

Community engagement and education is a key part of Ruth’s practice. Work as a creative educator and facilitator include projects for a wide range of clients include English National Opera, Garsington Opera and the Royal Opera House, where Ruth is Lead Artist for the Design Challenge Programme.

Research supervision

Practice-led research into worlding, puppetry and visual storytelling. 

Ruth has developed R and D projects with Improbable, the Royal Shakespeare Company, The Royal National Theatre, Blind Summit, Central School of Speech and Drama and Princeton University.

Areas of interest include art for social change, the animism of models, puppets and props; the history of theatre design pedagogy and the altered use of familiar materials in installation/performance art.

Professional Membership, Affiliation and Consultancy

  • Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy
  • Member British Society of Theatre Designers
  • Member Stage Sight
  • Associate Artist Blind Summit
  • External Advisor Validation Performance Courses: Greater Brighton MET
  • Arts Council DYCP award 2021-22
Ruth Paton