Interview with 2020/21 Emerging Leaders Fellow Brodrick Ryans

Throughout the week we want to celebrate our 20/21 TYA/USA Emerging Leaders in TYA Fellowship cohort as they wrap-up their year in the program. In the spirit of the connection and inspiration we found while being in community virtually this cycle, we asked each of the five Fellows to reflect on their Fellowship via profiles in TYA Today Online. Enjoy their insights and be sure to connect with them if you’re interested in collaborating!

Introduce yourself and tell us a bit about how you personally engage with the TYA world!

  • Hi I am Brodrick Ryans, but if you’re reading this you probably already knew that. When I began this fellowship, I was serving as the Education Coordinator at Seattle Children’s Theatre, but currently I am the Assistant Company Manager at 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle, Washington. Though not currently serving in a TYA theatre all the time I still work as a teaching artist in the TYA and I continue to carry the passion of transforming youth through educational theatre. It is also a personal goal of mine to help TYA/USA form a national Teen Advisory Board.

What areas of interest have you cultivated and/or discovered during your fellowship?

  • I have been able to continue to grow as an educator and an artist. The pandemic has forced all of us to think outside of our normal and traditional theatre gaze and find ways to engage with those in our immediate and global communities. I am extremely thankful that TYA/USA and Seattle Children’s Theatre have helped and encouraged me to do some podcasting, have some conversations and connect with the larger TYA/USA community. Whether I was helping form educational materials, hear empowering stories from other global majority artists or just fellowshiping with the TYA/USA Fellowship cohort I can honestly say that this time has taught me to be a better advocate. I have also learned so much about how we operate and interact with those around us, what it really means to listen and how I can use my gifts and skills to serve the students in our community.

Any future dreams, plans, or endeavors in progress related to these explorations?

  • Yes, 100%. It is a goal, a dream and a life milestone of mine to become an Artistic Director and eventually open and operate my own theatre company. I have plans to open the Matthew Tyler Magnuson Theatre and Conservatory for the Young to honor the life and legacy of my best friend who left us too soon. Matthew was an educator, artist and huge part of why I am a part of the TYA/USA family today. Matthew always encouraged me to be an educator and to set my dreams beyond the sky. I know that if he were still with us he would be the biggest advocate for young people in the global majority and underserved communities to receive theatre enrichment and education.

What advice would you give to folx who are new to the TYA field and don’t know where to start getting involved?

  • I would say soak up all of these resources. You will learn so much from the time that you spend with the leaders and innovators in our field. Take time to think about what it was like for you to be a young person inspired by a teacher, a coach or the moment that you knew that theatre would have a lasting impact on your life. The work that we do in this field allows us to be a part of that moment for young people all around the world. Also, do not be surprised when your students start to teach you more about life and love than you can possibly soak up.

From your perspective as an “emerging leader”, what do you hope to see in the future of TYA?

  • More work inspired by youth voices. More resources that give young people an opportunity to have the spotlight. It’s that simple.

Is there anything else you would like the field to know about you or your fellowship experience?

  • Yes, If you’re interested in having a conversation about starting a youth leadership board at your organization please reach out to me. I would love to hear what you’re working on and ways that I can get involved.

Where can the field best connect with you and your work beyond TYA/USA?

  • Follow me on instagram:
    Personal: brodrickryans
    Podcast: timeoutbrodrick
    Podcast can be streamed on Spotify, Soundcloud and Apple Podcast.