Neil was born in Manchester on 19th February to parents, Iain and Keryle and from an early age developed a love of the arts, particularly music and drama.
By the age of five he began studying piano, and by the time he was ten, having gone to see musicals with his family, he had a particular knack for returning home to play a fully harmonised 'overture' of the music he'd just heard - even though it may only have been heard once (and played with one finger and 'mouth drums'!)
Seeing an early talent for entertaining, Neil's parents encouraged him and his younger brother Carl to join the junior section of their local amateur operatic society, The Letchworth Arcadians. Over the next 10 years, he played various roles in amateur productions in Hertfordshire, predominantly at the Gordon Craig Theatre in Stevenage.
At school, Neil continued to use his musical abilities to the full, learning piano, singing and oboe, and joined the North Bedfordshire Wind Band. He was asked to join the NATIONAL YOUTH MUSIC THEATRE and performed in productions with the company around the world for over 6 years, including seasons at the Royal Opera House, Sadlers Wells Theatre, The Royal National Theatre, The Barbican Theatre, the Edinburgh Festival, and films for the BBC. In later years, Neil became a Board Member of the NYMT, producing their relaunch Gala at the Piccadilly Theatre in London.
Neil was interested in music composition and began writing various pieces for his O and A Levels, resulting in a Charity Gala of his writing at the Gordon Craig Theatre in 1986 where the Stevenage Symphony Orchestra premiered, among other things, his Children's Suite BOBBIN THE RABBIT, and his CLARINET CONCERTO (see WRITING)
Leaving school, Neil studied music, acting, directing and composition at Middlesex University, gaining an BA Honours Degree as a Bachelor of Performing Arts. He also received an Acting Diploma from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA)
After leaving University, Neil enjoyed a successful career as a leading actor both in the West End and regionally - see ACTING. Whilst performing he also pursued his directing work initially as Resident Director on productions on which he performed, and then as director of TELL ME ON A SUNDAY, an open air production of THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE, and as director for the SONDHEIM/MACKINTOSH MERCURY MUSICALS, where he directed productions working with over 50 new musical theatre writers. He also directed several projects for the Edinburgh Festival, including a new production of THE UGLY DUCKLING and an award winning late night cabaret show NOT QUITE BEDTIME, which he also wrote songs for.
Neil gave up performing in 2000 after a 15 year career playing a multitude of leading roles in the West End, Regionally and Internationally, and became Production Associate for the English National Opera before becoming Head of Casting for leading producer and theatre owner, Ambassador Theatre Group, a post he held for 10 years. Neil left ATG in 2012 to pursue a whole range of new projects, setting up NEIL RUTHERFORD CASTING for his freelance casting work and NEIL RUTHERFORD PRODUCTIONS, most recently producing the World Premiere of BEYOND DESIRE in Australia (see WRITING).
Neil also spent 4 years as Director, Associate Director and Casting Director for the musicals at the Sydney Opera House working with Opera Australia and John Frost and touring their productions around Australia.
Based in London, Neil has regular casting, writing and directing commitments around the world, including Polar Eclipse Theatre Company in Sweden for whom he is Artistic Director. He continues to write and record his music and songs, and presents casting and audition technique masterclasses around the world. Neil is also proud to work as Industry Liaison and Professional Development Manager at the world renowned drama conservatoire MOUNTVIEW.
Neil's book MUSICAL THEATRE CASTING AND AUDITIONS is a world leader in its field, published by Bloomsbury in 2012, and is on its 5th reprint.
In the little spare time Neil has from his work, he enjoys time with family and friends, cooking, traveling and making bespoke commissioned books - (see BOOKS)