Ruby Red Shoes –
By Meredith Fuller
Down Under actors are so talented, but our wide brown land of Oz is thin for theatre opportunities compared to New York. How do some click their heels together and transport themselves? We recently caught up with Ruby Vadivaloo on a short visit from New York.
We first met Ruby many years ago when she volunteered to be in my husband’s first film. Brian Walsh, a psychologist & short film maker, wrote a screenplay and shot his film at the Astor Theatre in Chapel. We have great respect and appreciation for our colleagues of all ages who volunteer; Ruby is a young, extraordinarily talented actor of integrity, and we are so delighted with her trajectory. A hard-working inner and outer beauty, she’s a superb example of Australian spirit, daring, and persistence.
How did she make it to New York?
“At the age of 17, during the suffocation of year 12, I decided to audition for a place at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. Drama had been a passion throughout my childhood, attending weekly drama and dance classes since before I would walk. To my utter amazement, following the audition at a major Melbourne hotel, I received an offer. It was so overwhelming, I could barely breathe. My mum, a single parent, realising that my crazy dream was now a possibility, took a deep breath and committed to helping me make it happen.
Five years later, I am living in Manhattan having completed three years at the Academy, the oldest English-speaking drama school in America. With a strong focus on Meisner technique, it is a not-for-profit drama school on Madison Avenue in midtown Manhattan. What a great start!”
Since graduating, I have performed in several plays – one of which I co-produced – and have served my time as a ‘baker’, singing and dancing my way along the carriages of a real 1930s silver train as a cast member on the Polar Express.
I now hold an 0-1 visa, which allows people with ‘extraordinary abilities’ a three-year shot at a career – which I am ever striving to progress.
I have appeared in several films, stage shows and advertisements. My great love is Shakespeare, so I regularly audition for roles on stage in this genre and others.
During my time in Manhattan, I’ve had extraordinary access to the complexities of the production of a full Broadway show, having worked as a personal assistant during the development of The Father. I helped the performers develop their lines and fulfilled myriad tasks, while watching the multi-million-dollar enterprise take shape.
I also work at the famous Sleep No More immersive theatre experience based on Macbeth. Anyone visiting New York should consider buying tickets to this ever-changing show. No two experiences are the same – while one ‘guest’ might wander through a forest, another might witness a murder. You might need to attend a few times to discover the full gamut of wild experiences. We are sworn to secrecy and are not permitted to reveal any details – so that’s all I can share!”
‘Who dares wins’ is a characteristic of our Australian sensibility.
Brian wanted to use Peter Gabriel’s song, “Don’t Give Up” for his film, but everyone told him how expensive the rights were – as he makes short stories and psychological documentaries to distribute at no cost, this was daunting. ‘Who dares wins’ is a characteristic of our Australian sensibility. However, Brian wrote to him about his film and was surprised to hear back. After surveying Brian‘s screenplay and insisting that he was to receive a copy of the film, Brian was granted permission to use the song for $ 75.00 instead of the usual $ 30,000 fee.
So, you could say that Ruby’s very first film appearance has been seen by Peter Gabriel. We cannot imagine the luminaries who will see Ruby as her star rises.