It’s no “Walk in the Park” for this Beautiful Joe.
Ryan Boyko stars as “Joe” in the upcoming World Premiere of “Beautiful Joe” at
Meaford Hall in May. This veteran actor of stage and screen has been with Joe through
the workshop process and is not afraid to say it is a challenge: “Joe is a dog. It is simple,
but not. He has fur and paws and a stump for a tail – but he feels and thinks and loves
like a human. I was so intrigued by the depth of this role and the inventive approach that
director Roger Shank took with it. There is no dog costume. I don’t even wear a mask.”
“We spent a lot time researching canine behavior and working with different movement
techniques to really experience what it feels like to be a dog. Then we layered in Michael
O’Brien’s (playwright) dialogue and what happened in the rehearsal hall, I will never
forget,” says director Roger Shank. “Ryan has put so much work into this character and
it pays off.”
Growing up on the prairies, Ryan had always dreamed of a life in the arts. His family has
always encouraged him to follow his dreams. When he moved to Stratford, Ontario to
join the Stratford Festival acting company, it was a milestone and a big step for Boyko.
But he didn’t stop there. After a few seasons at Stratford, Boyko moved to Toronto and
began to audition for film and television. His career was taking off – landing principal
and lead roles on Flashpoint, Outlaw Bikers and Urban Legends. With his experience,
Boyko was also an instructor with MY Film Studio, a summer youth film programme for
students at Meaford Hall.
Ryan Boyko is very excited to return to Meaford and to the role of Beautiful Joe along
side Mackenzie Muldoon, Lorretta Baily and Brendan Rowland. “I feel honored and
blessed to have this opportunity to be part of this extraordinary play at Meaford Hall, just
down the street from Beautiful Joe park. I feel a sense of euphoria and genuine
accomplishment whenever I am part of bringing History to life.” says Boyko.
For the past few years, when he hasn’t been acting, Boyko has been working on a passion
project, one that is very close to his heart. Boyko has written “Enemy Aliens” a feature
film about a uniquely Ukrainian Canadian story which deals with Canada’s first national
internment operations of 1914 to 1920, a subject that was struck from the Canadian
history books in the early 1950’s. “Being Ukrainian Canadian means a lot to me. This
film honors my Ukrainian ancestors and is inclusive of the other ethnic groups whose
home country was under the Austro-Hungarian Empire’s rule during WWI which led to
their eventual internment.” He hopes to start production in September of 2014 once all of
the financing falls into place. Should it take a bit longer to raise all of the funds ‘Enemy
Aliens’ will begin filming next spring.
Beautiful Joe is an adaptation for the stage by Michael O’Brien. Presented by the Grey-
Bruce Arts Collective in association with the Beautiful Joe Heritage Society.
Performances are at Meaford Hall, May 14 to 17. Tickets are $25 for Adults, $10
students. Tickets are available through the Meaford Hall box office at 1-877-538-0463 or