Musical Theatre lecturer Ryan Murphy leaning on a piano. The background shows stage lights.

Ryan Murphy

Staff. Musical Theatre

Ryan Murphy is a Senior Lecturer Practitioner and leads the BA Musical Theatre course. Teaching ensemble and solo singing as well as music theory, Ryan also musically directs productions across the course.

Outside of ARU, Ryan’s composing projects include classical chamber pieces to musicals and even large-scale orchestral works. Some of his recent works are ‘Letters To Myself - A Musical’ (Tristan Bates Theatre London, & Guildford Fringe Festival), ‘Life and Death In An Ocean Full Of Hope - A Musical Play’ (Paines Plough Roundabout Theatre, Bournemouth).  

What else have you been working on recently?

My latest publication ‘Child’s Play’ (Forton Music Publishing) is a series of pieces written for Oboe, Bassoon and Piano. The largest of these projects includes my doctoral research which focuses on Greek Mythology and narrative-driven composition.

Close up of Musical Theatre lecturer Ryan Murphy playing a piano that is out of shot

How did you get into theatre and music?

I’ve always loved it – for me, the two go hand in hand. The first production I was cast in was ‘Much Ado About Nothing’. Learning Shakespeare was obviously a challenge (I was 13!) but I soon found my rhythm with some encouragement from the director.

From that, I played the lead in a pantomime of ‘Jack and The Beanstalk’. It was my first singing part and because I’d never done anything like it before my parents paid for me to have private singing lessons. I had an excellent teacher who instilled a strong discipline and gave me confidence in my ability to do well.

It was also this first teacher who introduced me to a wider range of music, like classical, jazz and musical theatre.

“There’s something magical about singing with the piano and feeling a thrill from doing something creative and expressive. From a young age I knew I’d always have music and singing in my life, one way or another.”

What’s the most valuable thing you took away from your education?

Never be afraid of making mistakes. It’s a well-used phrase in my lectures! From experience I’ve found it’s only when we allow ourselves to make mistakes that we can understand how to grow and develop from them.

Close up of Musical Theatre lecturer Ryan Murphy playing a piano that is out of shot

What piece of advice would you give to your younger self?

Don’t be afraid of failing – go for it and see what happens! You never know until you try.

What interesting thing about Cambridge might people not know?

The famous Fitzbillies Café has been in business 99 years. It survived the bombings of WW2 and they still make the best Chelsea Buns in the country! You’ve got to try them.

Close up of someone's hands playing a piano