Staff Spotlight: Patricia Verity Suarez

Patricia is currently working as the Movement Director on the production of 'Red Ellen'.

By Lauren Bickerdike


Patricia is a Movement Director based in the Tees Valley and London and a Movement Lecturer on our BA (Hons) Musical Theatre programme. Patricia's movement work is inspired through using the imagination and grounding it in the body through somatic practices influenced by yoga and contemporary dance. You can find out more about Patricia and her work on her staff profile.

Patricia is currently working as the Movement Director on the Northern Stage, Nottingham Playhouse, and Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh's production of 'Red Ellen' which is coming to York in May. We spoke to Patricia about the upcoming tour, the role of the Movement Director and her career highlights so far.

Hi Patricia, where did your interest in theatre begin?

When did you decide you wanted to be a movement director, and what inspired this career choice?

I could never decide between doing dance or theatre and for a long time, it felt like I had to choose to do one or the other when what I really wanted to do was to combine those interests. I didn't know that Movement Director could be a career option until doing some online searches. I found the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama's MA Movement Directing and Teaching, and I went to do the course to find out more about movement directing.

Can you explain a little bit about the role of the Movement Director and how they work with the cast and creative team?

There are many different ways to be a Movement Director, and it will be unique to each person and their skill sets. For me, as a Movement Director, I look after the physical language or movement of a show. This is unique to each production, and the movement work is often collaborating with actors and directors on characterisation, scene transitions, and choreography if the production requires a jig, a rave or slapstick comedy.

I am very collaborative and work with actors and creatives to realise the creative vision. The starting point is often the text and the story being told, and I will have conversations with the other creatives about their ideas. I'll take that inspiration and before rehearsals do research, gathering references for the 'movement tasks' which will be explored in rehearsal. It is always exciting to experience the moments when it comes together, and a movement idea works perfectly with the sound design, set, and props.

You've worked on some great productions such as Shakespeare in Love (Theatre Royal Bath and Tour) and Blood Wedding (Omnibus Theatre). What has been a stand out highlight of your career so far?

You are currently working as Movement Director on the Northern Stage, Nottingham Playhouse, and Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh's production of 'Red Ellen'. How did this opportunity come about?

Often opportunities for me as a Movement Director have come through networking, applying to open calls, or being recommended by other people.

The opportunity to work on Red Ellen came about as the director Wils Wilson had been given recommendations of several movement directors, and I was one of them. The producer reached out to see if I was available and arrange a time for Wils and me to meet and chat before she decided who to bring on as part of the creative team.

Can you tell us a little bit about the production of 'Red Ellen' and what audiences can expect?

​Red Ellen is the story of Ellen Wilkinson, Labour MP, who was quite an extraordinary woman. Some of the things she did include leading the Jarrow March to Parliament to deliver a petition about unemployment. She was an activist against fascism, raising awareness about what was happening in Nazi Germany and the Spanish Civil War.

The production is an ensemble piece that takes the audience through different events and relationships in Ellen's life with her unstoppable energy.

You can catch 'Red Ellen' on tour! It will coming coming to York Theatre Royal 24-28 May and will be available to stream online via Northern Stage's website

Check out this Northern Stage interview with Director Matt Perry -

As a movement lecturer at Leeds Conservatoire, what do you enjoy most about working with the students?

I really enjoy the enthusiasm and energy the students bring to each lesson. Each person is unique, and it is always exciting to see how the students take the movement work and apply it to their acting.

What advice would you give young creatives hoping to work as a movement director?

There is no one way to be a Movement Director, and I'd really encourage young creatives to discover and explore their unique perspective. Be curious about all sorts of movement - whether it's athletics, climbing, dance, circus, etc. Find what really excites you about it and reflect on what it tells you about being human. Then talk about it, as a lot of being a movement director is being able to describe and explain the movement idea you have.

Also, I'd highly The Movement Podcast, hosted by Natasha Harrison, which has some great interviews with Movement Directors working in different contexts.

Learn more about 'Red Ellen' on the Northern Stage website.

Discover more about Musical Theatre at Leeds Conservatoire

Find out more about Patricia in her Staff Profile or on her website.

By Lauren Bickerdike

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