How Did I Get Started in Theater?
Hello! My name is Ryan and i'm born and raised in St. Louis Missouri.
My love for the theater industry started off when I was very young. I still remember my first interaction with AV equipment was during elementary school when I setup the gym sound system every day before school started. I went from standing on a chair working a little follow spot during our elementary school talent show to working on full scale productions and concerts. My first show was the classic Wizard of Oz back when I was in middle school. Something just clicked. The friends I made and the experiences I had made me fall in love with the theater. I couldn't wait for high school where I could learn how to use "The big boy toys". I learned quickly and eventually the seniors were coming to me with questions.
During my freshman year of high school I got to know an alumni from my school that would come and help us out with the technical aspects of the show. He taught me so many things that got me even more excited about the theater industry. My junior year of high school I had my first paid theater job. I worked for my school district's technical theater department running audio visual equipment for events ranging from board meetings to full blown concerts throughout all the district buildings. A few months later I was promoted to manager. Around that time I started working for a non-profit called Debut Theater Company. We put on shows to raise money for cancer research. Senior year of high school my love for theater technology grew and grew. I then landed my first paid community theater job and learned what it was like working for a professional theater company. After graduating in 2019 I attended St. Louis Community College free via the Missouri A+ program. During this time I continued to work for my old school district as a technical director, lighting designer, sound designer, and theatre manager. In addition, I also got a job with Logic Systems as a production crew member and continue to learn more bout the live event industry from hands on experience and working along side industry professionals and local stage hand union members. Once I obtained my 2 year associates degree in fine arts from St. Louis Community College, I transferred to Lindenwood University where I am currently a junior majoring in Technical Theater & Design with an emphasis in Lighting Design. During the summer of 2022, I had the opportunity to live on Long Beach Island in Beach Haven New New Jersey, and work at the famous Surflight Theater. This was such an amazing experience and I met so many great friends. During my senior year at Lindenwood, I left my job at Logic Systems and started working as a Lighting Designer for Technical Productions Inc... also known as "TPI", which is where I am currently employed. I also continue to teach technical theater for the Rockwood School District, and spend most of that time at Marquette High School, where I also tech direct an design shows.
What Has Helped Along The Way?
Since 1st grade I've been involved in the scouting program. The program taught me so many leadership skills that developed my character and management skills. I was later inducted into the Order of the Arrow which is the scouting national honor society and soon after sealed my brotherhood in the program.
In addition to scouting, I was heavily involved in my high school Air Force JROTC program. This program gave me addition real world leadership skills and offered me the chance to prove my skills. By senior year I achieved the highest AFJROTC rank of Cadet Colonel, and served as the unit Cadet Commander. During my time in AFJROTC I had the opportunity to attend numerous leadership camps including the American Wilderness Leadership School (AWLS) in Jackson-hole Wyoming, and Missouri Boys State.
These programs helped me become a leader and develop life skills I use in theater and my day to day life.
Awards & Recognition
-2022 Arts For Life Award for: "Matilda" "Best Youth Lighting Design"