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.
Carol is a Co-Owner of The Den Theatre, along with her partner, Ryan Martin. Carol is also the Founder of Haven Theatre Company. Carol served as Haven's Executive Director from 2012 until 2019, when she stepped down to assume the role as President of the Haven Board of Directors. Since 2013, Haven and Carol have produced 13 productions garnering over 18 Jeff Award Nominations, and winning six Jeff Awards. Carol attended Columbia College Chicago majoring in Theater with concentrations in Costume Design and Theater Management. Prior to starting Haven, Carol worked as a freelance Costume Designer. As a philanthropist, Carol gives a yearly scholarship to Columbia College Technical Theater Students, as well as funding other store front theater productions throughout the city. Carol is excited to be part of The Den Theatre and is looking forward to the growth of this space into the best entertainment venue in Chicago
Shelley has been with The Den since 2013 as GM. She comes to The Den with many active years in theatre as an actor, singer, producer, management, casting, educator and artistic director. Shelley has also written two children's shows, Pickle Chiffon Pie and Robot Mike and had the joy of seeing them produced.
Catherine has been at The Den since June 2017. She is also a freelance production manager in Chicago and has worked with Steep Theatre, where she is an Artistic Associate, Porchlight Music Theatre, Sideshow Theatre, About Face Theatre, Griffin Theatre, Route 66, Congo Square, and many others. Catherine also serves as the staff production manager at The Actors Gymnasium in Evanston. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where she received a BFA in Acting.
New to the Chicago theatre scene, Greg recently came back to his carpenter and project management roots as the Technical Supervisor for the Den Theatre. He has made a solid reputation for his creative builds, set safety, and problem-solving. Over the past several years he has worked as a Technical Director for local storefront theater companies such as Wildclaw Theatre, Porchlight Theater (ATD credit), and Steep Theater. He has also been a Lead Carpenter at Drury Lane Theater since 2018. He likes to dabble in the macabre working with the aforementioned Wildclaw Theatre; Chicago's premiere horror theatre company. He has spent the last 8 years both directing and performing for the Danse Macabre, or Dance of the Dead, at the Bristol Renaissance Faire. He is the owner/artist of A Wicked Whimsy, featuring bone artwork. When not in theatre or lurking in the dark, he is an avid outdoors-man and enjoys boardgames of all sorts.
Daryl A. Ritchie
Box Office Manager
Daryl has been at The Den since May of 2018. They freelance as a stage manager, production manager, and entertainment technology technician. They are currently the Company Manager of Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre and work with Thornton Fractional South High School. They have worked with The New Colony, Broken Nose, Urban Theatre Company, and many others. They graduated from Tennessee State University with a degree in Production of Theatre. While in Tennessee they were on the Board of Directors of The Circle Players and worked as their Technical Director and Lighting Designer.
Food + Beverage Manager
Mike has been working in Chicago for the better part of a decade as an actor and musician. He has had the pleasure to work with many companies around town, including Trap Door Theatre, Underscore Theatre, and The House Theatre of Chicago to name a few. Mike contributed his decade of experience in the coffee industry to build the addition of a full service coffee shop operating out of Haven Lounge, and loves being in the space and sharing a good time with the Chicago community, making sure all of our guests are well fed and taken care of before and after their theater experience!
Assistant Food & Beverage Manager