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Men In Black: Ryan Bradburn

Want another glimpse behind the curtain at GLT?

We’re taking some time to catch up with some of our technical, artistic and costume staff that contribute to the overall experience at our theatre. These ‘men in black,’ also known as the staff that are often behind the curtain, put in hours of work to make each show the best that it can be. This week, we introduce you to a designer who is both behind the scenes and onstage. We caught up with Ryan Bradburn, the Graphic Designer for GLT, who also plays Wilbur Turnblad in the current production of Hairspray.

What was your first theatre experience?

Seeing Wizard of Oz at the Greenville Little Theatre when I was 14 years old.

What inspired you to get into designing?

Seeing other designers’ creative designs always get me motivated and inspired!

What’s the first step of your job when designing a show?

Reading the script is always first.

What’s your typical schedule like for a show?

The next step is meeting with the director to see if they have a direction they want to go with the look/feel of the show and if they have any ideas in their head about the design.

What is your favorite part of your job? What is the most challenging part?

My favorite part is seeing everything get built and painted. It's fun seeing stuff leap off the page. The most challenging part is the initial design, making sure everything fits together.

How do you come up with creative ideas for different shows?

Every show has its own style and doing tons of research for that particular period helps generate ideas. What helps me in the realm of creativity is taking the ordinary and making it theatrical.

How do you ensure that the set design contributes to the overall experience of a show?

The set is the largest character of the show, and it sets the mood for every scene.

What is your favorite set piece in Hairspray?

The television camera. It was a lot of fun to build so that it looks like the old vintage cameras.

What is it like to set design and act in the same show on top of graphic designing for GLT and other theatres?

When the cast first moves on to the stage and a lot of the set isn't finished at that point, I'm trying to act, but all I do it stand around and look at everything that needs to be finished... haha! That's the tough part. I love all aspects of the theatre I am involved with. I really enjoy the theatre life both on stage and off.

Who/What inspires you as a designer?

Suzanne McCalla, Kim Granner, Shannon Roberts, to name a few. I have learned sooooo much just from the people I have worked with in the past. These three are at the top of my inspiration and creative list. You don't get much better then them.

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