Who is Ryan Henry?
If my old school report cards are anything to go by, I am “a pleasure to have in class.” So yes, I am obviously very gay now*. I’m someone who will use any excuse to say the word superfluous because it just sounds good in the mouth. I do my best work at 1.00am and as a result, I’m so useless without some form of caffeine (but refuse to carry a novelty mug that says so). Mostly, I’m an artist doing my best to share my work and pay my rent every month.
What would you do differently from what you do now?
Stick to learning the piano. I’ve tried numerous times but alas, I’m someone who wants to learn a skill immediately. So, if there are any piano savants out there who love a challenge, slide into my DMs.
Who inspires you and why?
The artists who continue to find avenues of joy in their work. The ones not afraid to shake things up in their own practice and who welcome failures in their pursuit of worthy storytelling. The ones who dedicate the most to their craft and still find balance to not let it dictate their lives. That’s inspiring to me. Also, Meryl Streep (see asterisk above). I wanna be her when I grow up.
What would you do to make a difference in the world?
A big question. Ambitiously, if there was something that made everyone laugh, a universal source of humour that without failure made every single person have a good chuckle, I’d harness that. I think that would make a great deal of difference today.
Favourite holiday destination and why?
New York is at the top of the list, but that seems a bit of an obvious answer for a performer. But like every respectable human, I have ambitions to live out a Mamma Mia fantasy of crawling on the beach as Lay All Your Love On Me plays. So, the Greek Islands would be appropriate.
When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
Eydie’s Bar in Brunswick East allows dogs… need I say more? But I personally can never beat a cute picnic in Edi (Edinburgh) Gardens. When the weathers right, the esky is full and you’re in the mood for a lazy day, it’s ideal.
What are you currently reading?
I’m slowly making my way through The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. If it’s fantasy and LGBTQIA+, it’s a win for me.
What are you currently listening to?
I’m currently on the Tick, Tick…BOOM! album again. Andrew Garfield was my Top Artist in my Spotify wrapped this year, which is both hilarious and fitting for me.
Going to bed each night without 2am thoughts keeping you up. Finding joy in what you do. Appreciating that you can’t know happiness unless you’ve experienced sadness.
What does the future hold for you?
A lot, I hope. I’m someone who would once hold anxiety about what was to come. But I’ve learnt, and still am learning, to not give the future too much power. As an artist, I feel as though we are always seeking success. I know I do, but I’m starting to not let that dictate my present choices. So, I can’t answer exactly what’s being held for me, but I’m excited to see how I get there. Also, a dog (possibly named Schnitzel) in my future would be incredible.
Ryan has created and performs the new Australian work, Cult, at the Meat Market Stables, as part of the 2023 Midsumma Festival, from 1 February. For more information, visit: www.midsumma.org.au for details.
Image: Ryan Henry (supplied)