As an internationally acclaimed performer and West End star, Ruthie Henshall knows her fame can be used beyond the theatre boards to shine the footlights on local causes.
The Reydon resident is patron of Suffolk Family Carers, has held theatre workshops at local schools and is to embark on education and outreach work in East Anglia with her company Three Pin Productions.
Ruthie, who brings her one woman show to Bury St Edmunds next month, says: “I’m one of those people who believe if you have any kind of profile you should be using it for good because you’re in a privileged position. It’s about finding something you’re passionate about.”
She became involved with Suffolk Family Carers after being asked to open one of their functions.
“I was so moved by all the selfless people that were there,” Ruthie remembers. “They’re not getting paid for what they do.”
“We did some workshops with the young carers which was very inspiring. These kids don’t really have a childhood.”
She says such activities can boost confidence and self worth. “If you can get some kind of confidence and be able to present yourself better than the next person, you’re going to get the job no matter what it is. Also there’s nothing like singing and dancing to make you feel good.”
Ruthie knows this ethos better than most with a CV which looks like a who’s who of the West End with appearances in shows such as Cats, Miss Saigon, Les Miserables and Chicago.
She will guide audiences through her career in an ‘very personal show’ of musical and popular songs and anecdotes at The Theatre Royal on February 23.
“They will know a lot more about the theatre and my life than they did before and it’s a lot of fun. I bring a lot of humour into it because I love to laugh.”
Since Ruthie started the business has taken on a new doorway to theatre fame with performers battling it out on reality TV shows for roles.
What’s her take on the format?
“I still think they’ve got a hard road ahead of them. They’ve got to prove they can do other parts. It’s great to have some kind of leg up in the business but then you’ve got to sustain a career and that’s very different.”
An Intimate Evening With Ruthie Henshall is at the Theatre Royal, in Bury St Edmunds, on February 23.