Ruth Mariner

"Somewhere between a coordinator and a magician." 

— David Sulkin OBE

Head of Artist Development, 

National Opera Studio

My journey into performance began with my father, an amateur inventor and lover of everything 'technical'. From a young age I learned that curiosity can take you on a journey of discovery, and that by revealing hidden knowledge you can create unique experiences that illuminate the world.

I sought my own world of connection, imagination and unlimited possibility through art; aged 15, a performance of Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle catapulted me from my theatre seat and into a new space where ideas could be lived and breathed. That electric experience has lived with me ever since, and it's what I aim to give to my audience today.

Within opera, theatre and interdisciplinary performance, my productions are colourful, intriguing and irreverent. They resemble a curiosity cabinet of hidden truths, where, for every smile there falls a tear, and we always return to a fundamental sense of human (inter)connection.

“maximum inventiveness.
                                 — Bachtrack, The Hogboon 
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Director | Writer  

As a director of opera — the most immediate, raw, creative force — my role is to interpret these works for today's audience. Within interdisciplinary collaboration, I bring artists together to create new performance languages. Always, my work is bold, physical and visually playful.

Future engagements include work for Constella Opera Ballet and Snape Maltings.


Recent projects include a folklore-inspired production of Purcell's Fairy Queen for Waterperry Opera Festival, an SEND show 'The Extraordinary Adventures of You and Me' for English Touring Opera, and 'Four Stories about Welcoming' at Opera Holland Park

As an Assistant Director am excited to be working on upcoming projects with Daniel Kramer at Staatsoper Hannover, and Thomas Guthrie at The Grange Festival. Helping to realise the visions of leading directors has been a great source of mentorship, and I am proud to have learned by assisting and observing directors including Martin Constantine, John Fulljames and Graham Vick. 

As a writer, I spark colourful ideas and inventive approaches to interdisciplinary storytelling. I also act as a creative linchpin, synthesising the visions of the collaborative team.

Upcoming projects include a people's opera celebrating the life of the Sultan for the Royal Opera House Muscat. I have written for the Youth Opera Chorus, Royal Opera House, English Touring Opera and The Museum of London Docklands.

I create interdisciplinary super collaborations through my production company Gestalt Arts, which means 'The whole is more than the sum of the parts.' As Artistic Director, this gives me the creative freedom push the boundaries of what performance is and who it is for. 


Upcoming projects include 'Indus', an intimate new theatre work and unique approach to integrated access, using foley, audio description and the operatic voice. Supported by Snape Maltings, Fuel Theatre & Unlimited. Past projects include a folk opera exploring the secret language of trees for The Eden Project; and an exploration of extremist violence on teenagers created with anti-terrorist organisation The Active Change Foundation & featured on Channel 4

In 2016 I founded The Librettist Network, to support new works of opera and music theatre from a musical-dramatic approach. Funded by The Guildhall School, regular partners include The National Opera Studio and The Royal Opera House, where I co-produced the Open Studio Series for Engender Festival 2019.


From 2017 - 2018 I sat on the board of Stage Directors UK, and am now part of the steering committee for RESEO — The European Network of Drama and Dance Education, advocating for artists within the organisational structure.

| Leadership



Work within education, learning and inclusion is a vital part of my practice, giving me the chance to meet people from all walks of life, encounter unexpected ideas and enjoy moments of connection and spontaneous creativity.

Collaborating with many groups including young people, babies and those that have experienced human cruelty, I have worked for companies including The Royal Opera House, English Touring Opera and Freedom From Torture. I am interested in exploring  performance as a catalyst for social cohesion, education, cultural identity and wellbeing.

In 2019, I became the first person to teach Opera Making at the Royal Academy of Music, nurturing collaborations between librettists and postgraduate composers. I have spoken about my work at The Barbican Centre, Southbank Centre, Welsh National Opera & Matera, European Capital of Culture 2019.

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© 2020 by Ruth Mariner