Ryan Hoke '05
After Calvin graduating Calvin, teaching preschool in Grand Rapids for a few year, and getting married my wife Jacqui and I trekked out to the Canadian northwest to the beautiful city of Vancouver. There we worked many long but fun hours as apprentices at Pacific Theatre, an incredible theatre company in the heart of the city. Finally after our year long, west coast adventure we traveled to Columbus, OH. After settling in, we helped found Wild Goose Creative, a community based Arts Company with 4 fellow Calvin grads.
Theatre has played a big part in shaping my identity and the way I look at the world. Also theatre is and always will be about community and relationships. The bonds that are created when a group of people come together to create a piece of art are extraordinary. You need so many people: actors, directors, technical artists, and an audience to work together towards something common and what's created is always more than sum of the individuals working on a given project. Also it's been exciting to realize that there are so many opportunities for performance in both traditional and non traditional ways out there: story telling, performance poetry, oral histories, public speaking—all these have been so fun to discover.
While at Calvin I got to have a wide range of experiences (acting, directing, stage managing, building sets, and writing) which I think is a definite strength of the company. Some of my favorite Calvin projects were being a part of the cast of Ghost Sonata, acting and directing for 24 hour theatre, stage managing for Twelfth Night, and acting in two oral history projects, Fires in the Mirror and Divine Reverberations. In general I'm completely fascinated by the art of story telling and one of my main interests is the collecting, compiling and performing oral histories. There are so many amazing stories out there that are true and to bringing them to life on stage is so satisfying. While in Vancouver Jacqui and I got to compile, produce and act a play based on real stories called A Rattling Sound—that's definitely been one of my favorite projects since Calvin.
Also in terms of life after Calvin the biggest I've been project has been founding Wild Goose Creative in Columbus, OH. Founded on the core values of creativity, hospitality, education and community a lot of the ideas we had about forming the company came directly from our experience at Calvin. The idea of vocation, faith intersecting with art, and working alongside your friends came directly from the projects we worked on while we were in school. It's interesting when I notice practical moments in my current artistic life baring fruit now, in unexpected and sometime unconscious ways, which are the outworking of ideas planted so many years ago about connecting work, faith, art, and life. Working on Wild Goose Creative has been an incredible exercise in chasing after something that feels illusive at times (hence our name) but has been so rewarding.