Opera Learning and Participation

Ruth Paton, Research and Development, Ruth as a bird

At the core of Ruth’s work is a belief in the power of art as an instrument of social change.

Her work as a designer is based on collaborative practice, creating work both with, and for, a diverse range of professional and non-professional artists and participants.

Over 15 years, with long term collaborators, Ruth has delivered creative, ambitious and impactful outreach work which connects with participants and develops relationships with communities. Working extensively across all levels of formal education, including SEN and PRU, and with many heterogeneous groups of people including those experiencing homelessness, living in prisons and in residential care, Ruth has worked for arts organisations who are committed to reaching out in new and exciting ways to make active and progressive change to our city and our society.

Long-term Collaborators

Karen Gillingham, Freya Wynn Jones, Hazel Gould, Tim Yealland, Tom Guthrie, David Stevenson, John Barber, James Redwood, Pete Le Tenka, Natasha Khamja-ni, Rob Gildon, Hannah Conway, Jessie Maryon Davies.

Royal Opera House Logo

Royal Opera House

Ruth Paton, Research and Development, Lewisham Opera

Since 2009, Ruth has worked as lead artist for the Royal Opera House Learning Department. This work has included designing 5 community operas, a Family Sunday performance, a youth opera production and the co-curation of a community festival at the Bob and Tamar Manoukian Production Workshop in Thurrock.

She is the lead artist for the Royal Opera House Theatre Craft Programmes, including the Design Challenge and Create and Design. Since the programme’s inception in 2010, Ruth has supported and delivered on every area, including the creation of learning materials and a series of films – all found on the learning platform.

English National Opera

Ruth has worked as a Lead Practitioner for ENO Engage for over 10 years, creating and devising projects with families, schools and young people.


Garsington Opera

Garsington Adults

Collaborating with director Karen Gillingham at Garsington Opera for over a decade, Ruth has made multiple shows with young people in schools, and with the Garsington Youth and Adult Companies at the opera house in Wormsley.

The Adult Company recently collaborated with charity Rosetta Life to produce Weather the Storm – a new work by Orlando Gough drawn from the experiences of stroke survivors. The opera was performed by a company of professional singers, stroke survivors, Adult Company members and NHS Health Professionals.

Other organisations include (click on a logo to find out more):