Ryan Johnson-Travis has written, directed, and performed for several regional theaters, independent production companies and dance companies throughout the East Coast. He recently received a 2013 Individual Artist Commission from CNY Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts to create a one-man show. The commissioned work will be a complement to LeDroit Park, an original one-man play that explores how low-income African-American men become non-participatory fathers.
Ryan is committed to developing work that transforms the theater into a space of social theorizing and critique of the human condition. His most recent work, for example, belonging to the time after the present, uses stylized movement and dance to traverse the origin of human existence to the transatlantic slave trade. He recently performed at the People's Recovery Summit, a 3-day gathering of volunteers, organizers, residents and community leaders to strategize on the NYC post-Sandy recovery effort.
Ryan also works as an educator. He volunteered as the theater arts instructor for the Peaceful Schools Initiative at Huntington Elementary School in Syracuse, NY and the Boys & Girls Club of Georgia Heartlands in Fort Valley, GA. He recently held a visiting faculty position at Colgate University, and currently teaches creative writing, film and theater courses at Syracuse University as a Part-Time Professor. He is also the Director of the Syracuse University Community Theater Program. In addition to serving as Executive Artistic Director for PRPAC, Ryan teaches theater for 2nd and 5th graders at Percy Hughes School in Syracuse, NY.
Ryan holds a MFA in Acting from the University of Florida, MA in Pan African Studies from Syracuse University and BA in African World Studies from Fort Valley State University.
Ryan Johnson-Travis (Photo by Michelle Gabel/The Post-Standard, 2013).
An energetic and outspoken Syracuse native, Caly Givens is a passionate soul and embodies the true definition of an artist. From an early age, Caly was fascinated by things in the imaginative realm and was drawn to the local art scene, performing in local talent shows.
Caly attended Howard University where she received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Administration of Justice with a minor in Theatre Arts.
After leaving the nation's capital, she trained at Studio 24 in Syracuse, New York. She made the commitment to pursue acting full-time and then moved to Los Angeles. While in Los Angeles, Caly trained at the Acting Corpse and The Imagined Life. She has been featured in numerous productions including TV, film, and commercial advertisements such as, Law & Order, Just Wright and two SONY Entertainment commercials. She starred as Lead in the short film Venus Jungle Jig and plays supporting roles, in the independent films Party U.S.A, Black Butterfly, and King Lee, an independent screenplay loosely based on Syracuse's former Mayor Lee Alexander.
In her spare time, Caly is devoted to mentoring young girls about building and maintaining integrity, accepting oneself, and overcoming obstacles. Her presentations push young women to go beyond believing and begin executing their goals to achieve their dreams. In fact, many individuals in the Syracuse community refer to Caly as a motivational speaker. She has been the Keynote Speaker for On Point For College's Celebration Dinner, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and sat on panels of Sisters empowering Sisters Conference and at Onondaga Community College - just to name a few!
Today, Caly is the Director of Development at the Paul Robeson Performing Arts Company in Syracuse, NY and is thrilled to be a part of a dynamic and imaginative team!
Caly Givens (Photo by Summer Raine Photography, 2011).
Melissa Gardiner is dedicated to promoting social justice, awareness, and change. She implements this vision through programs such as the Elephant in the Room, a discussion series which she developed that openly addresses socially sensitive topics.
As an administrator, Melissa currently is the Office/Sales Manager at bc Restaurant. She has also served as Box Office and Cafe Manager for the Red House Arts Center, Administrative Assistant to the Vice President and General Counsel/Executive Director of Jazz Studies at Juilliard, and Event Coordinator and Publicity Assistant at The University of Michigan.
Melissa has had the honor of performing with many legendary jazz musicians including Benny Golson, Alice Coltrane, Branford Marsalis, Terence Blanchard, Geri Allen, Rodney Whitaker, Wycliffe Gordon, Steve Turre, Gerald Wilson, and Patti Austin.
As a jazz trombonist, Melissa performs regularly as a bandleader and freelances with many other ensembles. She is a pit orchestra musician for the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse in Auburn, and at Syracuse Stage. Her debut album, Transitions, was released on May 14th 2011, at Smalls Jazz Club in NYC. She recently co-founded and performs with a Syracuse-based group, Perseverance Park, a collective of music and poetry.
Melissa holds a Master of Music from The Juilliard School and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from The University of Michigan.
Melissa Gardiner (Photo by Mat Jodrell, 2011).
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