Our People

Ruth Oakley


Arts & Gardens Team

Ruth Oakley combined two deep interests to found Arts and Gardens.

Cicadas, gum nuts and rock pools reigned during an outdoor childhood in Melbourne, Victoria, where Ruth managed a dance studio and produced theatre for Australian and South Asian touring before moving to the UK in 2003.

Ruth was Senior Festival Programmer for the Southbank Centre, London, where she was lead programmer for Imagine Children’s Festival and contributing programmer for Women of the World, Festival of Love, Alchemy and Africa Utopia.

For 8 years Ruth worked for City of London Festival. As Head of Outdoor Events and Participation she led a programme across the Square Mile’s iconic buildings, squares, gardens and the City’s open spaces including Hampstead Heath and Epping Forest. Her achievements included reaching 3.5 million people through London’s Play Me, I’m Yours Street Pianos, which continue to be played at St Pancras International station today; creation of a 250-seat Bowler Hat pop-up theatre next to St Paul’s Cathedral; commissioning and producing new dance, performance and art for the outdoors.

Ruth has been a member of the Board for Outdoor Arts UK (formerly ISAN). She is also studying part-time for an MA Garden and Landscape History at University of London’s School of Advanced Study.  In 2016 she was awarded The Gardens Trust’s national essay prize.

Marie Klimis

Associate Producer