UF School of Theatre + Dance alumnus Ryan Hope Travis (MFA Acting ’12) began acting his senior year of high school. Travis played cello since he was 10, but only began acting after he was convinced to participate in the church plays his mom wrote, he says.
“Participating in plays was a great opportunity to meet girls,” Travis says jokingly. “I helped backstage with costumes, props and sets, but before I knew it my mother had written a character for me. My first time on stage was a blur, but the thrill I felt afterward lasted a week. Acting was a whole new expression of my creativity.”
After high school, Travis earned a Bachelor of Arts in African World Studies at Fort Valley State University, Fort Valley, Georgia. His studies then took him to Syracuse University where he earned a Master of Arts in Pan African Studies and, finally, to UF where he earned his Master of Fine Arts in Acting.
“By the time I got to UF, the desire to pursue acting and to create meaningful works of art was ingrained in me,” Travis says.
About five months ago, Travis walked away from a teaching gig at Syracuse University when he moved to Los Angeles, California. He had yet to realize, but it was a huge leap of faith. In LA, Travis teaches beginning and intermediate acting at his cousin, Tasha Smith’s, acting workshop. Travis also substitutes at her master classes when she’s away working on other projects.
“Teaching acting has been one of the most fulfilling experiences for me,” Travis says. “It is absolutely one of my gifts, and I am honored to assist fellow actors in their quest to pursue their dreams.”
When he’s not teaching classes or coaching clients at Tasha Smith Actors Workshop, Travis keeps busy auditioning for and booking gigs. Most recently, he wrapped up an independent film where he played Romeo in a modern interpretation of Romeo & Juliet. In the coming weeks he is set to begin production for another independent short film.
“I’m living the actor's dream—auditioning, booking random gigs and working side jobs to keep the bills paid,” says Travis.
Speaking to his fellow artists and UF alumni, Travis encourages them to “keep the faith.”
“Our quest is a noble one,” he says. “We are so blessed to be in pursuit of our dreams. No matter how small, celebrate the daily successes. Let's embrace the journey, not the destination. With that, I am so thankful to be able to share a leg of my journey with you.”