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Ryan Clemens is a pretty fun guy.  He's also a professional actor, writer, teacher, and (as you likely noticed) Mark Twain enthusiast.  His love for his distant cousin Samuel L. Clemens truly developed in high school when his mother gave him a hefty present titled "The Complete Works of Mark Twain."  Soon he discovered heroes in great Mark Twain performers like McAvoy Layne and the remarkable Hal Holbrook (pictured at right).  It wasn't long before Ryan was making the scene in his own wig and glue-on mustache, regaling folks with tall Twain tales.  Now after many years, many cigars, much travel, much study, and many-many-many performances for many-many-many wonderful people, Clemens still finds his greatest joy in taking on the persona of that great American humorist, author, and icon:  Mark Twain.



As Virginia Stage Company's Resident Theatre Artist, Ryan has written and performed for both the Wells Theatre main stage and a variety of touring shows, classes and workshops.  As a member of Plan B Comedy, he has honed his skills as an improvisor and comedian working regularly at Zeider's American Dream Theatre.  As a theatre professor at Old Dominion University and the Governor's School for the Arts, he has offered his knowledge and techniques to students of the performing arts.  He has performed on stage and screen for the better part of his life, yet Ryan's greatest passion has always been about sharing the wit and wisdom of his famous relative Samuel L. Clemens.


Originally from Wyoming, Ryan began his career by creating a travelling Wild West show with the name "The Cowpoke Theatrical Company."  Since those early days, he has performed on stage, on film, even in rock and roll bands.  His recent work includes twelve years with Norfolk's Virginia Stage Company and several seasons with both the Virginia Shakespeare Festival in Williamsburg and Tidewater Stage in Virginia Beach.   Additionally, he loves to entertain at schools, for museums, and for programs that serve the elderly such as Tidewater Arts Outreach.  Ryan holds a BA in Theatre from Western Washington University and an MFA in Acting from Regent University and is also a member of the Actor's Equity Candidate Program. 


Besides Mark Twain, some of Ryan's favorite roles include Prospero in The Tempest; Brutus in Julius Caesar; Mr. Wormwood in Matilda; Mortimer in The Fantasticks; Balin in The Hobbit; Eddie in Fool For Love;  Jaxton in The Thanksgiving Play; Arnold in The Boys Next Door, and Bob Cratchit or Jacob Marley or Old Joe or the Ghost of Christmas Present, or a myriad of other Dickensian characters from nine seasons working with Virginia Stage Company's A Christmas Carol.  


The best role he has ever gotten is that of Husband to his very kind and supportive wife Sonja. 



Ryan has performed at Equity and Non Equity show houses, summer theatres, Shakespeare Festivals, corporate events, libraries, churches, schools and community centers across the United States and a few times in Switzerland!


Working for Old Dominion University, Virginia Stage Company, Governor's School For The Arts, colleges, camps and other organizations, Ryan presents classes and workshops on various theatre topics.


An author of various short plays, childrens' plays, and comedy shows, Ryan has also directed for Universities and childrens theatres.  Additionally he's created and toured a well-received anti-bullying program and an equally well-received, CHKD Hospital sponsored Healthy Habits program for elementary school students.


Whatever the venue, whatever the audience, Ryan knows how to work a crowd.  In addition to acting, Ryan has won applause  with Improvisational Comedy troupes, Rock and Roll bands, Pirate shows and even his Wild West Show!


For years, Ryan has both written and performed in "Mark Twain" productions, the most popular being his one-man show "Meet Mark Twain."  Not only is Ryan a fan and scholar of Samuel Clemens (AKA Mark Twain), he's also a relative!

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