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Ryan Patterson

Assistant Professor / Technical Director / Facilities Manager

Storytelling is one of the most humanizing shared experiences we can have and when done right, it can help people to become more accepting of others.


B.S Mechanical Engineering, University of Akron
M.F.A Technical Theatre, Kent State University

Do What You Love

There are four main reasons I do theatre. Creation, Challenge, Passion, and Duty. I am obsessed with creation. Since I was young, I have wanted to make things. It makes me feel alive when I am inventing, which leads me to challenge. I love to attempt something that has never been done before, or never been done on the budget I have for it. I have a passion for theatre, the feeling of opening night when people come to see what we all have created still gives me goosebumps every time. It is the passion for the art form that gets me through the difficult and at times long hours. I also believe it is the duty of those with the gift, to participate in storytelling. Storytelling is one of the most humanizing shared experiences we can have and when done right, it can help people to become more accepting of others.

Real World in the Classroom

I worked as the Technical Director at Cleveland Public Theatre for 3 years. We produced over 14 shows and events a season including an annual fundraiser called Pandemonium. Pandemonium included over 20 stages, each with its own sound, lighting, and scenic elements, 200 artists all performing at once, and a designed choose your own adventure layout. Learning the patterns of guests and the elements that attracted and repelled them was an incredibly enriching experience. We also produced a smaller similar ever called Station Hope roughly half the size and scope of Pandemonium, but with a focus on social justice issues. Creating an event with this kind of heavy and important subject matter required a great amount of care and planning and taught me invaluable lessons I carry every day. I have also been part of many one-off special effects developments. Two of which were the creation of mechanisms for a shield and sword for the Cleveland Cavalier's mascot which respectively have a Co2 effect and a pyro effect in them.

Student Success

My favorite part of my job is getting to see my students achieve a new skill or produce a piece of art that exceeds their expectations. I know that an event like this can be the spark that keeps an artist moving through the inevitable tough times, so helping to get them to those moments is priceless.

Many Opportunities

There is a sense at Mount Union that students should always pursue multiple interests if they have them. There is real support for students majoring in a science like engineering and minoring in an art like theatre, and even more unique combinations. I know from personal experience; this is not the normal. At most universities, you would need to fight for such out-of-the-ordinary combinations.

Why Mount Union

Mount Union has an incredible faculty and students who really care about the work. These two elements let me know that there is a real opportunity, here, for innovation in the technical theatre art form.

Future Careers

The Performing Arts Department and specifically the theatre concentration at Mount Union allows and expects its students to leave with a strong foundation in all aspects of theatre. Most students find their talent in one aspect, but having that solid foundation all around, helps them to be much better theatre artists as they go forward in their careers.