Interview with Majestic Repertory Theater's Troy Heard
Life in a pandemic can be isolating. Especially when the initial lockdown was called, many people felt cut off from their communities. Troy Heard, Artistic Director at Majestic Repertory Theater in Las Vegas, felt no different. After his two running shows closed, he was determined to continue to create and bring art to his community during a global pandemic. And so he did. Troy recognized that the stage he and his company were so used to working on was no longer an option, and so they moved online. However, this format felt limiting and Troy wanted to bring more to his community. From Instagram Live to hosting a zoom “Ask Me Anything,” Majestic kept their presence in the community. However, when the opportunity presented itself, they jumped on it and went live in an unusual format: drive-through theater.
Troy and his company’s return to theater was a variety show designed to be an opportunity for families to go out and laugh. Performers were also hungry for the chance to get back into their craft and present their work to the community. Troy recalls the enthusiastic reception of this show and the many thanks he received for giving people a reason to get out of the house.
Despite his desire to create theater, Troy understood when it was his time to step back. Closing night of his drive-through production coincided with the beginning of the Las Vegas Black Lives Matter marches. Troy realized that the community was going through a moment of new social justice that should be given the utmost attention. He included different art pieces in his storefront that spoke to the current social movement in an attempt to show solidarity with Black Lives Matter.
When the time felt right, Troy returned to live theater in another ingenious fashion, drive-in theater. Audiences would drive up to a parking spot and tune their radios to the frequencies that hosted the actors' mics. The performers were a couple who were quarantined together and acted in front of a line of cars. While social distancing was maintained, the audience was grateful for the opportunity to leave their houses and experience something as a community.
Troy’s work during the pandemic is fueled by his belief that “art is the life blood of the community, when you take the arts away, you take the soul away”.