The Ruby Dolls
The Ruby Dolls: theatre-makers, singers, cabaret-lovers and storytellers.
‘Our work is strongly influenced by cabaret. Both the intimacy of it: we play fast and loose with the idea of the “fourth wall” so that we can contact an audience more directly to share our stories, and the variety of it: we infuse our work with dance, puppetry, clowning and our trademark close part harmony song.”
The Ruby Dolls are a multi-disciplinary, collaborative theatre company. They are comprised of five theatre makers and performers: Jessica Sedler, Susanna Fiore, Rebecca Shanks, Tara Siddall, and then there is Jenny Grove, who is currently taking maternity leave and is not involved in ‘Fabulous Creatures’, their latest show.
The Ruby Dolls started life as a close four part harmony singing group, after Jessica, Susanna, Tara and Jenny met at LAMDA where they trained as Actors. Their main objective was to make some extra money and have some fun. But they quickly realised, that their passions consisted of Theatre and singing, so why not try and combine the two, and use singing to tell stories they wanted to tell. From there, things snowballed and five years later they have four full-length productions under their belt and a successful events business. Rebecca joined the Dolls in (2013) allowing Jenny to take time out from performing.
‘Ein Abend Mit Ruby’, their first show was originally commissioned by Soho Theatre to commemorate the fall of the Berlin Wall. It was completely devised with a mixture of songs, poetry and scenes. It was developed further and performed at The Jermyn Street Theatre
‘Rubies In The Attic’ was developed over the course of a residency at Jermyn Street Theatre in early 2011. Each of the Dolls took the lead on writing one quarter of the piece. It was directed by Laura Casey. Later it was performed at Riverside Studios 2012. They were then invited to co-produce with Assembly for the Edinburgh Festival 2012 and the Dolls performed the show at the Assembly Roxy
‘Rubies In The Smoke’the Dolls were invited to perform at St. James’ Theatre. This was a another collaborative piece, and they along with director Dominic Burdess devised the piece scripted in parts by Jenny Grove (one of the founder members ) of the Dolls.
‘Fabulous Creatures’ their latest production premiered at this year’s Edinburgh Festival at Assembly Checkpoint, to rave reviews. It is described by the Ruby Dolls as a “feminist fairytale in four part harmony”. It tells the story of Fanny- a girl who meets someone, falls in love, and discovers she’s a goat!! Fabulous Creatures, asks how, in an internet age obsessed with celebrity, and divided by insane gender expectations, we might find true love.
The Dolls say, “The idea to create a show with an entirely original score felt like the next logical step for us following on from our last show. We are fortunate to have the extremely talented Benjamin Cox as a permanent member of the team, and it has been wonderful to see him with his composing hat on. It has been a delight collaborating with Abigail Burdess and Dominic Burdess our writer and director and brother/sister dream team! What is brilliant, is that all seven of us share a worldview as well as an artistic vision, and this project has inspired and challenged us all to be brave and create beautiful work that is saying something important to us.
Abigail Burdess writer of ‘Fabulous Creatures’ said, “I fell in love with the Dolls when I heard them sing. It was captivating hearing women’s voices together, in harmony. With voices that gorgeous one can speak difficult truths – and hope to get away with it! The Dolls themselves all argue constantly – but just because they disagree, doesn’t mean they don’t have something important to say. And you could say the same thing about modern feminism”.
It is our most ambitious production to date and we are proud to be raising the bar. In heels! We started out on this journey bursting with stories to tell, and through The Ruby Dolls we are finding our voice as women in the Arts, and singing it LOUD in close part harmony!