MEET THE CREW
RYAN MARTIN / Founder + Artistic Director
The son of a diplomat, Ryan Martin was a traveler at birth. He was born in the Philippines and lived between Tunis, Washington DC and Germany before the age of six. At ten years old, his family moved to Texas, where Ryan attended high school and began acting classes. His adventures continued after graduation, as he traveled abroad through Europe, playing semi-professional tennis for the Club De Tenis Andres Gimeno in Spain.
With an inspired outlook, he returned to Texas to attend college. Ryan found comfort in the city of his youth, but soon became restless. In 2002, he moved to Chicago, with the simple desire to create something meaningful. Finding himself in a bustling theatre city further grew an ingrained love of performance. His personal search led him to more acting classes, exciting roles, enlightened mentors, and eventually, an understanding that his vision lied more in creating a community, than performing on a stage.
In 2010, Ryan rented a second floor with one room, and opened his very own theatre in Chicago’s Wicker Park. What was once a space without a name is now The Den Theatre, housing seven live spaces and three bars—more active performance and event space than any other building in the country. Since opening the doors, Ryan has run operations, while leading the creative direction of the theatre. He also fell in love with a city to call home, and a lovely woman named Erinn.
Ryan spends his free time with his wife and family, including daughter, Haven, and son, Rigby. His theatre remains an ever-expanding entity: a life-long project to give a voice to all artists, at any level of experience. The lessons told to him on his travels inspire him still today, and the stories of the humans he’s met push him to give an opportunity for others to share theirs.