Trevor A. Riley 2010, BFA in Stage Management
Trevor determined in high school that he didn’t have the talent to be an actor, when his James River High School theatre teacher (Patrick Held, BFA ’89) suggested he consider stage management instead.
When Trevor got to VCU, “I liked how they taught us a well-rounded program. I spent time acting, as well as working in costume construction and set construction. Part of the great thing about Richmond is that there are so many local productions.” This allowed Trevor to practice his skills in other theatres between the main stage productions, “If I wasn’t at VCU, you found me at a local theatre.”
He continued to work locally after graduation, “I was finishing up shows with Richmond Shakespeare, when I got a call from the Olney Theatre in Maryland. Their stage management intern was leaving and they needed someone to take his place.” Trevor’s original plan to move to New York was put on hold.
After Olney, he returned to Richmond, where he was the facilities/production manager for Henley Street Theatre. “As I was finishing up Desa Rose at Firehouse and preparing to move to NYC with the $8 I had saved, I got a call from Woolly Mammoth.” This brought him back to the DC area to stage manage their production of The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Diety.
Eventually, he got a call from Arena Stage to work the props run crew, “which I hadn’t done before, but a paycheck is a paycheck and that was my intro to Arena.” When the stage managers found out about Trevor’s background in stage management, they started to give him more responsibility.
What Trevor considers “the highlight of my career” happened with the 2014 world premiere of Our War, which featured a series of monologues about the 125th anniversary of the Civil War. Every performance featured a guest appearance by a notable Washingtonian and it was Trevor’s responsibility to host them. One night he was thrilled to have tea and discuss opera with Ruth Bader Ginsberg.
After another stint at Olney, where he got his Equity card, Trevor returned to Arena in 2019 as Assistant Production Manager where he still is today, after the furlough ends. Reflecting on his career trajectory, “I tell people to take advantage of every opportunity. If you can run crew, hang and focus, run a spotlight, you’ll grow your inner circle and you’re going to meet people who will help you get closer to your goal.”
Trevor and James Lewis have been together for eight years and hope to get married this year.
Compiled by Liz Hopper (Emeritus Faculty) and Jerry Williams (BFA ’71) for the January 2021 Theatre Alumni Newsletter