Ruud Gielens was born in 1977 in Belgium and studied theatre directing at the Royal Institute for Theatre, Cinema, and Sound in Brussels. After graduation, the versatile artist was active in various fields of the performing arts. He designed stage sets and lighting designs, realized short films and worked as a video-artist and directed and acted at several Belgian and international Theatres.
His strong interest in social issues leads him to realize a variety of politically motivated projects that always spring from impulsive promptings, political and artistic emergencies, interventions and debates.
With Mourade Zeguendi, Chokri and Zouhaïr Ben Chikha he founded the company Union Suspecte and directed amongst others: 41 Rue de la limite, L’Hafa, Notre Dame de Flandre, We people and Back To School.
His other directorial works include Koltès': Battles with Dogsand Negro's at Theatre Antigone and also Peter Handke’s Die Stunde da wir nichts von einander wussten at the Kaaitheater. He also directed the opera’s Samson and Platée at Music Theatre Transparent in Antwerp.
As an actor, he played amongst others in Luk Percevals’: L. King of Pain, Turista, and Death of a Salesman. At the Berlin Schaubuehne, he starred in Thomas Ostermeier’s staging of the Woyzeck. At the German National Theater Weimar, he played Richard III under Thomas Thieme’s direction.
From 2005 to 2010 he was part of the ensemble of the KVS in Brussels. As a house director, he staged amongst others: Liberté, Egalité, Sexualité, Singhet ende Weset, Kroum, Revue and Biedermann und die Brandstiffter; as an actor, he starred at the KVS in Litanie and King Lear.
He also starred in several Belgian and international movies and television series including Vermist, De Keyser van de Smaak, Soeur Sourire and Les Barons.
In 2011 he created the performance Lessons in Revolting together with his partner Laila Soliman. Since 2011 he lives and works part of his time in Egypt where he stages different performances, festivals, and projects. With his production company SHISH he produces the performances No Time for Art and Hawa El Horreya, both directed by Laila Soliman.
In 2014 he directed the musical play Kein schöner Land at the Maxim Gorki Theatre in Berlin. He also regularly works in Berlin at the Ballhaus Naunynstrasse where he amongst other created the projects Revolution in X-Berg and Global Duty.
He is also part of the directorial team at the theatre school Rits in Brussels, where he teaches mainly to young and aspiring theatre directors.