Ruth Pongstaphone

Director & Designer

Bangkok . New York . Berlin


Ruth Pongstaphone is a multi-disciplinary theatre artist who creates, directs and designs original new works of visual theatre. Influenced by her own bi-cultural origins she traverses the borderlands between Asian and Western notions and aesthetics, re-encountering classic motifs and narratives from both perspectives, she generates new visual and gestural vocabulary. She utilizes the powerful relationship and interaction between physical performance and design to transcend narrative dialogue and to subjugate text to the non-linear realm of visceral experience that is directly expressive, and immediately accessible. Deeply affected by memory and the senses, her works explore both the conflict and the meeting ground between the imagined and the “real” creating a symbology that is both totally unique and universally evocative.

Ruth works both as an artist and a teacher; from 2000 thru 2001 she acted as resident directing and design faculty at Playwright’s Horizon’s NYU. From 2004 until 2008 she independently developed and directed a cross-cultural ensemble training program for American students in Thailand. In 2006, as an evolution of the program, she founded the non-profit organization, Dhamma Theatre West Inc. in an effort to undertake the exploration of Buddhist perspectives and experiences with and within theatrical technique, performance, narrative, philosophy and iconography.

Ruth’s work as an artist has been a vital part of creative collaborations at BAM, Kasser Theater, American Dance Festival, the Chicago Museum of Art, Mass MOCA, Lincoln Center, La Mama, Classic Stage Co, The Public Theater, Soho Repertory, Ridge Theatre, American Repertory Theatre, Centerstage, Broadway, Disneyland and UNESCAP, the United Nations, Thailand etc. In 2001 she received an Obie Award in New York for Best Collaborative Design. Her recent collaborations include; Arco with Sympho at Tune-In Festival, Park Ave Armory, New York (2011), Das ImaginareLand, Premier, Stadttheatre Hildburghausen, Germany (2010), “untitledLEAR”, Alliance Francais, Burma (2010), Lilit Pralor Patravadi Theatre, Thailand (2009) and Lightening at Our Feet, BAM, Brooklyn, NY(2009). Ruth is currently the Director of Design for The Patravadi Theatre, Thailand since 2001.

Artist Biography