Syd Ralph MBE
Syd has directed productions for the London Savoy Theatre, the Royal Opera House and on a BBC2 documentary filmed inside Wandsworth Prison. She trained initially as a dancer and then went on to act, choreograph and direct. Her family moved to Canada and whilst there she played a number of stage roles, most notably Lady Macbeth (Macbeth), Victoria (My Fat Friend), Sheila (Relatively Speaking) and Fernande Olivier (Beautiful Tigers). She also worked regularly for CBC radio and television (Beachcombers, CBC TV, Canada).
Syd returned to the UK and performed in a variety of theatre roles including Crissy in the national tour of Hair; The Secretary in the Crucible Theatre’s production of Tom Stoppard’s Jumpers; Fraulein Kost in Cabaret at the Newcastle Playhouse, directed by Bob Carlton; Kathy in Company at the Library Theatre, Manchester; and a year’s work in Oh Calcutta! at the Duchess Theatre, London.
She played television roles in A Bunch Of Five (ATV Network Ltd), Wings (BBC TV), Johnny Jarvis (BBC TV) and was a freelance actor for BBC School Radio before being invited to join the BBC radio repertory company on a year’s contract. During that year her most exciting roles included Mary Magdalene, working with Paul Copley and Patrick Troughton, and Maria in Twelfth Night. Her most demanding role was playing the left foot of a pair of clogs.
As a choreographer, Syd worked on the national tour of Hair, Godspell at the Young Vic, and several productions for the Manchester Library Theatre. She also staged a wide variety of productions for the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield.
After the birth of her two children, Syd founded her own award winning youth theatre company, Act One-Scene One, and subsequently was invited to work as a freelance director for the National Youth Music Theatre. She went on to be a founding Artistic Associate of Youth Music Theatre:UK for whom she co-wrote and directed Amy’s Wedding (2003) and the Neil Sedaka musical, Oh! Carol (2006), returning to Belfast to direct the YMT production of The Chosen Room, written by award-winning playwright, Marie Jones and MD/composer Mark Dougherty. She works regularly for Music Theatre 4 Youth, based in Belfast, most recently workshopping with Conor Mitchell.
Syd directed two productions of Orpheus-the Mythical, written by Sir Richard Stilgoe and performed at the Linbury Studio, Royal Opera House and at the Yvonne Arnaud, Guildford the following year. She has led numerous workshops and devised theatre courses across the UK and, most recently, an MA Devising Theatre course at the University of Kent at Canterbury and a BA Sceneology Course working with the designer, Gary McCann. As well as directing, Syd has written and had published 5 youth theatre musicals and an opera, co-written with Mark Dougherty and performed at the Theatre Royal, Margate as part of the Canterbury Festival.
Syd returned to performing two years ago in a two hander Green Room Theatre Company production, The Last Lap, directed by Patsy Hughes, featuring Patrick O Reilly, and performed in Belfast.
Since moving to Northern Ireland, Syd has featured in a number of television public information and corporate films and a number of “shorts”. She has also set up her own company, NI Theatre Workshop, which develops new writing through to production.
Sid was awarded an MBE in the New Years’ Honours list for 2016.
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