IN nautical terms it is a little like swapping the bridge of the QE2 for tending the tiller of a rowing boat.
But the former associate insists there was no ill-feeling and she has every intention of going back to direct.
“I was only on an 18-month contract and it came to an end,” she says. “I would like to have stayed but they went down a different path with my role, which was their choice.
“I would like to go back there. Of course, I want to direct on the main stage but I also think my work is the Studio and new writing. There’s more I could have done there and there’s more I could do.”
The former Sheffield University graduate acknowledges The Lantern has got that Studio feel about it, however. “That excites me as a director because it excites me as an audience member.
“As much as I keep going back to these big productions, this commercial world, it’s not who I am. I enjoy it and I get a huge amount out of it; what it does mean is I’m not scared of big plays, big spaces, all those things directors don’t often get the opportunity to do.
“I want to direct my own big musical and wouldn’t it be great to do it on the Sheffield stage.”
Ghost The Musical reunited Ruth with award-winning director Matthew Warchus (Lord Of The Rings). She had previously directed Les Liaisons Dangerous, My Matisse, Blue Remembered Hills, Measure for Measure and The Sea, but couldn’t predict how huge the current Piccadilly Theatre show would become, even slated for a Melbourne opening in 2013.
“It’s going global, but I’m not surprised because it’s a well known and great story everybody can relate to.
“It’s a love story and musicals are often in some ways a love story.
“We don’t do the film on stage, but it all made sense. Dirty Dancing was very much the film on stage and we’re in a culture of turning these things into musicals. Bridget Jones has been done, The Bodyguard has, From Here To Eternity, Rocky.”
While Ghost presented the challenge of getting Sam to walk through a door among other things, staging something at Sheffield’s oldest – and smallest – theatre holds it’s own challenges – and appeal.
“It roots me to what got me into theatre because the most fantastic thing about the Lantern is it’s got what I always want theatres to have which is community. I feel like I belong there.
“It’s got a real sense of loyalty, people who really support it, and a new audience is building. I’ve been away from Sheffield for 12 months and now is my time to be back here.
“Everybody in Sheffield is getting behind The Lantern for the right reasons. It is going to put itself on the map and this will certainly not be the only production I direct there. We’re already talking about what we’re going to do next and hopefully there are other directors I can bring with other projects.
“The professional touring work they’ve got coming in is fantastic but hopefully I’ll be able to bring some other stuff as well.”
n Tickets for Order, priced £9.50, available via 0114 255 1776 and www.lanterntheatre.org.uk