Behind the scenes at Orlando Shakespeare Theater

Getting To Know You: Victoria “Bird” Ruiz

If you happen to hear someone around the Theater mention a “bird”, chances are they aren’t speaking about a feathered animal or a middle finger. They’re most likely referring to our Company Manager, Victoria Ruiz or “Bird” (a title derived from her childhood nickname “Tweety Bird”).

Bird headshotBorn in Louisiana, Bird grew up bouncing between divorced parents in New Orleans and Mandeville. When college came, she began her freshman year at Southern Miss, before migrating back to Louisiana to concentrate on stage management and sound design at LSU. Prior to graduation, Bird attended the Southeastern Theatre Conference (SETC) where she interviewed for Orlando Shakes “by accident”. Passing the Theater’s table, she was welcomed by Production Manager George Hamrah who told her to sit down, despite the long line of hopefuls with interview time slots behind her. Bird got the call offering her a Stage Management Apprentice position and she took it without hesitation. Struck by Orlando Shakes’ stability and responsible financial plan, she was also encouraged by the Theater’s mission to create bold professional theater, develop new plays, and provide community enriching educational opportunities. “There’s a true attempt to execute it,” she said. “Orlando Shakes’ mission is a daily thought on everyone’s mind.” For this reason, Bird jumped at the chance to be a full-time employee here, applying for the Company Manager position when it became available halfway through her apprenticeship last year.

Favorite Shakespeare Play: Titus Andronicus
Favorite Show Seen at Orlando Shakes: The Exit Interview, Fall 2012
Most Anticipated Show This Season: Pluto

Bird headsetWhen asked about an average day on the job, Bird laughed and assured me there was no such thing. On any given day, she could be in a meeting, driving actors to the airport, or planning a Company party. As the main point of contact between the Production and Administration departments, Bird also makes sure incoming actors have everything they need, from scripts to rental cars to housing. In addition to her duties as Company Manager, she also acts as an AEA Stage Manager for Harriett’s New Play Series. This season she’s already stage managed the World Premiere of The Cortez Method and will take on the Rolling World Premiere of Pluto this spring. As if that isn’t enough responsibility, this hardworking gal is also the assistant to Artistic Director Jim Helsinger.

With such a full plate, you might wonder what this Company Manager does for fun. Besides keeping up with her favorite football teams (LSU Tigers and New Orleans Saints), Bird loves playing video games and is a self-proclaimed “space nerd” who admittedly attended three different space camps. Her easygoing nature is quite a contrast to the ‘diva’ stereotype that seems to plague the actors she works with. But Bird doesn’t see it that way. “They’re up there on stage doing something I never could,” she said. “So I go the extra mile to keep people happy.” With talent clamoring to return to the Theater and a smiling staff, it’s quite clear that Bird’s “extra mile” is just what we need.

Shakespearely Yours,

Melissa Landy
Public Relations Coordinator

 

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