Leading a tour with one of my Acting classes.
"Acting class was phenomenal. The instructor, Ryan Decker, respected my input and adjusted the practice scene to how I saw the characters and my co-actor... we made acting choices, had momentum, and our reactions felt genuine. This was a first for me... being treated with respect as an adult, and yet having a playful experience..."
Jacob Robertson, Acting: Foundations student
"I loved this class. Mr. Decker was very fun and inviting. He made class comfortable and allowed everyone to express themselves at their own pace."
University of New Orleans student evaluation
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF THEATRE -- Division of Communication & Fine Arts, Loras College, 2018--Current:
- Public Speaking (LIB 110): Designed to develop effective speaking before audiences through understanding of rhetorical principles and through practice in construction, delivering, and evaluating informative and persuasive speeches; classroom applications in impromptu and extemporaneous modes of speaking.
- Acting for Stage & Film (COM 121): A studio performance course designed for the beginning actor, as an exploration, through both theory and practical application, of acting performance for the stage and camera.
- Directing for Stage & Film (COM 123): Fundamentals of script interpretation and directing. Emphasis on working with actors, composition, and justifying actions, movement, and silence with an understanding of a concept, characters, and conflict.
- Stagecraft & Design for Stage & Film (COM 207): An exploration and experience in the various aspects of recreational and educational theater. Emphasizes basic technical production elements, including scene construction, costumes, lighting, painting, properties, etc.
- Theatre Practicum (COM 193): Hands-on experience through participation in a Loras Players production. Credit may be earned by participation in either the technical areas of the production or by participation as an actor.
- Western Theatre (COM 250): An exploration of the history of live theatre as it developed throughout Western culture, with emphasis placed on the major historical periods from ancient Greek to the modern Realism/Antirealism movement. The course incorporates a variety of approaches including student presentations, historical research, and group activities.
- American Theatre (COM 251): A general introduction to live American theatre with emphasis placed on audience appreciation and understanding of production practices. Through a variety of approaches such as student presentations, group activities, and theatre performance, the course considers and explores methods used by American theatre artists.
- Theatre Performance Workshop (COM 300): This course is developed so as to allow students to explore the performance art of “live theatre.” Through work-shopping techniques such as improvisation, storytelling, and speed writing; students will write, rehearse and perform as original performance piece.
- Dramatic Narrative Analysis & Interpretation: This course examines fundamental script analysis methods and their practical application in the formulation of concept, identification of conflict, and behavior of character. Through selected plays and screenplays, this course will emphasize the methods employed by directors and actors in film and theatre.
- Acting I (FTA 1300): An introductory course to the craft of acting. Students gain theoretical and practical understanding of the basic principles of acting and apply them to exploratory exercises, script/scene work, and the presentation of an open scene, two-person scene, and monologue. Emphasis on objective, action (tactic), obstacles, other, given circumstances, and character.
- Acting II (FTA 2330): Experimental cross-over course with Directing (FTA 2380), Spring 2018. Intensive training in the fundamental process of preparing a role including self-knowledge, script analysis, and the application of technique, objective, action, and motivation in characterization.
- Directing I (FTA 2380): Fundamentals of script interpretation and directing. Emphasis on working with actors, composition, and justifying actions, movement, and silence with an understanding of a concept, characters, and conflict.
- Contracted / Not Taught: Theatre Appreciation (FTA 1000); Oral Communications (FTA 2650).
- Departmental Responsibilities: co-managing Theatre UNO marketing, box office, and front-of-house operations; directing one Theatre UNO production per academic year.
INSTRUCTOR OF THEATRE ARTS -- Dubuque Area Arts Collective, Spring 2014-Fall 2014.
- Acting: Foundations: A semester-long introduction to theories and craft skills of acting.
- Acting: Improvisation: A workshop introduction to improvisational acting, principles, and games.
GUEST ARTIST -- Iowa Thespian Festival, Fall 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014.
- Masks, Mischief & Mayhem: Through 16th century Italian commedia dell'arte stock character masks, physical comedy, and characterizations, actors explore dynamic physical expression for the stage. (Fall 2013)
- Exploring Viewpoints: Participants will explore shape, gesture, kinetic response, spatial relationship, and other Viewpoints as tools for spontaneity, awareness, and creating characters and performances. This workshop is active, engaging, thoughtful, and very useful for actors creating captivating stage roles or devising new, original performances. (Fall 2011, reprised for 2012 and 2014.)
GUEST DIRECTOR -- Fine & Performing Arts Department, University of Dubuque, Fall 2012.
- The Last Five Years: Directed the fall musical production of The Last Five Years in an academic setting (and taking teachable moments!). Production served as context for coursework in Production Techniques (UDTH 210) and Capstone (UDTH 358).
DRAMA TEACHER ("TRANSFIGURATION PROFESSOR") -- Great Midwestern Educational Theatre Company: Frogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry Summer Camp, Summer 2012.
- Drama 3-5: Drama games and play.
- Drama 6-8: Storytelling and play.
- Drama 9-12: Voice, movement, and tableau storytelling.
INSTRUCTOR OF ACTING & MOVEMENT -- Sturgis Youth Theatre, Spring 2012.
- Acting II: (co-taught) Scene study course building on the Acting I course.
- Movement for the Actor: (cancelled, under-enrolled): Development of physical freedom (expression), exploring movement techniques, and physical characterization.
- Physical Comedy & Stage Combat: Safe practices for selling staged violence and physical comedy.
STUDENT-INSTRUCTOR OF VOICE -- School of Music, UNI, Spring 2012.
- Non-Major Applied Music (Voice): Taught one juried section of voice in completion of studies in Vocal Pedagogy. In addition to the practice and performance of two contrasting pieces, instruction included units in music theory (basic music reading, piano playing), vocal technique (breathing, resonance, diction), artistry (interpretation, communication, performance skills), and vocal health.
GUEST ARTIST -- Acting for the Camera Workshop, Great River Film Initiative, 2011.
- Introduction to Acting & On-Camera Technique (Session)
- Cold Readings, Auditions, and the Business of Acting (Session)
- Filmmaking Master Class (Lecturer)
INSTRUCTOR OF MOVEMENT, GUEST DIRECTOR -- "Acting Out!", EI/WI Scouts, Fall 2009.
- Movement for the Actor: Workshops exploring movement and Laban-based performance.
- Readers' Theatre: Directed two cumulative readers’ theatre performances.
by student assessments
at University of New Orleans
"Ryan did a wonderful job of preparing the class and organizing the course's work for the semester. The class was inspiring."
Ivonne Simmonds, Acting student
My primary acting teachers have been David W. Hoover (graduate-level), Aimee Hayes (AD of Southern Rep), Richard Glockner, Gwendolyn Schwinke, Susan Schuld, and Tyler Hayes Stillwill. My training has focused on Practical Aesthetics, as well as Meisner and Stanislavsky-based approaches, the Linklater Progression, Feldenkrais Method, Viewpoints, Laban Efforts, and Checkov Work. I studied Theatre in Education under Gretta Breghammer and Voice/Music Pedagogy under Dr. Jean McDonald.