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Photo by Clayton Cotterell

Ryan Gamblin ’19


Hometown: Manchester, New Hampshire

How Reed changed me: I am so much more myself than I ever thought I could be, and am pursuing a breadth and depth of experience that I never thought I could have access to.

Awards, fellowships, grants: I received the summer internship award twice, a grant from the David Adler Theatre Fund, and commendations for academic excellence at Reed for all four years. I received generous financial aid during my time at Reed, which enabled my attendance.

Thesis adviser: Prof. Kate Bredeson [theatre]

Thesis: The Song Cycle as a Medium of Postdramatic Theatre

What it’s about: I explore the way that the form of the song cycle is used by contemporary artists to question the bounds of the medium of theatre and harness the power of music in performance—free from the restrictions and trappings of Aristotelian drama, the formal concert, and the American musical.

What it’s really about: How can we use music in theatre in a way that isn’t so predictable?

In high school: I was a drum major, a stage manager, a saxophonist, and the singer of an emo band on the weekends. I was also a lot more tightly wound. 

Influential Reed class: Prof. Peter Ksander’s [theatre] Visual Performance Narratives class has permanently changed the way that I understand art and performance. The entire theatre department has changed the way that I view and interact with the world around me, and made me aware of the ways in which we are all simultaneously creating it.

Influential books: Entangled by Chris Salter, The Medium is the Massage by Marshall McLuhan, and 4.48 Psychosis by Sarah Kane.

Cool stuff: I learned how to fix my own bicycle (kind of), studied digital video and interactive art; learned how to design a sound system and use different software and hardware for making music, theatre, and art; collaborated on multiple Renn Fayre projects; directed a show; created work with some of my best friends; was inspired by my collaborators; was in a band; learned how to enjoy dancing; was a tutor; went to the ski cabin; saw the Pacific Ocean; worked or interned at PICA’s TBA Festival, the Wooster Group, the Public Theater, and more.

Challenges I faced: Adapting to an environment where some of your peers are the children of CEOs and presidents of major corporations was really weird and difficult for me, being from a modest old mill city in New Hampshire. Knowing that some of my peers received educations at some of the most prestigious secondary schools in the country (and world) made me feel inferior for a long time.

What’s next: I'm going to keep trying to make relevant art however I can with as many different people as possible.