Ryan trained in Musical Theatre Performance as an undergraduate before completing an MA in Musical Theatre Composition at Goldsmiths University. From a young age he studied with Jane White in Classical & Musical Theatre singing before moving on to Brockenhurst college where he was taught by a variety of specialists including Christine Thomas in Piano and Singing. Whilst studying alongside his main programme in musical theatre, Ryan also continued his classical training in singing with visiting lecturers from the Royal Academy of Music. Since completing his performance training, Ryan has musically directed, composed and lectured at various institutions across the country. His first musical, ‘Letters to myself’ was premiered at the Tristan Bates Theatre in London in 2011 and following that The Guildford Fringe Festival.
Ryan composes professionally; his latest publication ‘Child’s Play’ (Forton Publications) is a series of classical chamber pieces for Piano, Oboe and Bassoon. Currently, Ryan is working on a series of Orchestral pieces as part of his PhD entitled ‘The Olympus Suite’ which focuses on retelling the narratives of The Greek Gods in programmatic music. He has written new music in collaboration with award-winning lyricist Claire Rivers and in 2017 he scored the music for a new play entitled ‘Life and Death In An Ocean Full Of Hope’ with playwright Andrew Muir (‘The Session’, Bloomsbury Publishing, ‘Look Up’ National Theatre) as part of Paines Plough’s Roundabout Theatre Festival.
Ryan is an accomplished pianist and Musical Director with a Licentiate Diploma in Musical Theatre Singing from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. As a Lecturer, he has Musically Directed a vast array of projects. His credits include; The Threepenny Opera, Les Misérables, Kiss Me Kate, The Addams Family, Rent, The Hot Mikado, I Love You Because, Company, Jekyll and Hyde, Avenue Q, Theory of Relativity, We Will Rock You, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Ordinary Days, Legally Blonde and Sister Act.
In 2018, Ryan set up a professional touring theatre company in Bournemouth called ‘Backlight Theatre Productions’ which specialised in creating paid opportunities for Musical Theatre graduates across the country. The first production, William Finn’s ‘The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee’ employed twelve graduates from the south of England; nine of whom made up the cast and three who were employed as the technical and creative team. As Artistic Director of the company, Ryan was responsible for developing marketing material (programmes and flyers), uploading creative content to social platforms, organising meetings with various cast and crew and managing theatre bookings. The company’s first production was a huge success and without the aid of any arts funding or monetary incentive, managed to pay all actors and technical crew standard equity rates from ticket sales alone.
Ryan is hoping to continue Backlight Theatre Productions in Cambridge in the not-so-distant future in order to provide more opportunities for ARU alumni and those in the surrounding areas looking for professional work experience in Musical Theatre.
Anglia Ruskin University
Alongside his creative projects, Ryan is the Course Leader and Senior Lecturer Practitioner in Musical Theatre at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge. His academic profile can be viewed here.
When appointed the role of Course Leader in 2019, Ryan redesigned the degree in Performing Arts into a new and contemporary programme; a successful and popular course which is quickly becoming one of the highest recruiting degrees in the department of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (AHSS) at ARU. Ryan is responsible for ensuring degree course content is reflective of current industry practice, he is also responsible for the running of the programme, including managing and liaising with teaching staff in the faculty.
In 2020, Ryan was nominated for an ‘excellence in teaching’ award, in recognition of making a difference to the student experience at ARU, for reasons including providing outstanding pastoral care, and contemporary industry-standard training in his practice.
As senior lecturer practitioner, Ryan teaches on a number of modules across the programme including ensemble singing, music theory and the musical direction of some musicals.
“I am so grateful to work in such an inspiring setting with incredibly talented students on a daily basis. The diverse team I work with and the passion I see in those around me continues to drive me to be the very best I can be in my work”