Incoming Law Student Enters Next Stage of His Career
Trevor Floyd’s bittersweet last day working for the Marin Theatre Company in California’s Bay Area, where he climbed from intern to artistic producer over the course of five years, wasn’t a curtain call — not even a Zoom call.
Although he poured himself into the job, ultimately serving as right hand to the artistic director, a virtual send-off wasn’t for him. He preferred to “just ride off” and remember the days when collaborators could enjoy each other face to face.
A first-year student at the University of Virginia School of Law, Floyd packed up his car last week and headed for Charlottesville. He hopes his experience at the mid-size stage, known for premiering and further developing the works of important American playwrights, will be something he can build on.
Theater and the law are similar in that they both can facilitate social progress, he said.
“There’s a lot that I love about theater, and I find it connects back to the law,” Floyd said. “Theater’s purpose is not only to engage people but to create empathy in its audiences, to start dialogue in communities.”
Last year, the company mounted the West Coast premiere of “Sovereignty,” which follows Sarah Ridge Polson, a Cherokee lawyer who fights to restore her nation’s jurisdiction. The story broaches the topic of violence against native women by white men, who couldn’t be prosecuted for crimes committed on native lands until the Violence Against Women Act became law in 1994.
The company has also presented other productions on controversial American history, addressed gender lines and sexuality, and experimented with format, as with last year’s adaption of the Toni Morrison novel “Jazz.”
Floyd worked his way up in the highly regarded theater. He started out as an unpaid intern, laboring on the side at a Target store to make ends meet, but landed a job as company manager and associate before the end of his internship. He was promoted to box office manager, which was on top of his duties booking artists and taking care of other human resource concerns. Finally, he was producing and managing company business when the casting director left, increasing Floyd’s responsibilities further. Having inherited such a wide variety of duties, he stepped into the artistic producer role.
“It was a combination of being in the right place at the right time and being really committed to the organization,” Floyd said. “I spent every waking hour learning about how the theater operated.”
In practical terms, the experience gave him a jump start on his studies. He routinely dealt with the theater’s contracts, honed his public-speaking skills (including as host of the theater’s “talk backs” after performances) and interacted with people of all stripes.
“I feel like I’ve had a worldly education that I wouldn’t get without traveling to all these places around the world,” he said.
Floyd is a graduate of Clemson University, where he double majored in political science and theater, and was a co-founder of Theater Unhinged. He said he’s proud of the additional opportunities to gain experience that the company provided students, and noted that the cast and crew of Unhinged’s production of “Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead” filmed an “It Gets Better” video for The Trevor Project, a nonprofit organization that focuses on suicide prevention in the LGBTQ community.
A native of Conway, South Carolina, Floyd said theater has provided some joyful real-world experience prior to his legal studies. He has aspired to be a lawyer since high school.
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