A new year calls for a new Staff Spotlight! Meet Gaven Trinidad, NYTW’s Community Engagement Associate. Gaven was a workshop intern back in 2014, and we were thrilled when he joined us full time. See what inspires Gaven and what keeps them moving forward!
Tell us about your role at the Workshop?
I’m NYTW’s first full-time Community Engagement Associate. I help build, sustain, and expand NYTW’s public artistic and educational programs—empowering community members, local artists, and partner organizations with the tools and knowledge to be arts leaders in their respective neighborhoods and communities. I first joined NYTW as the first Community Engagement intern during the 2014/15 season. I’m happy to return! Oh, fun fact: during the pandemic I’ve been illustrating for NYTW! You may have seen some of my illustrations in our email blasts or on our social media.
Most memorable show or experience at NYTW?
As an intern at the Workshop, I was given many opportunities to work with artists and observe their process of art-making and collaboration. In 2015, I was assigned as one of the PAs for an early two-week workshop of Hadestown. I watched closely how Anaïs Mitchell and Rachel Chavkin collaborated with their designers and actors to more fully flesh out the musical. It was breathtaking to see new songs being written and observe first-hand how meaningful collaboration leads to creating transformative theatre. I was witnessing musical theatre history being made!
What is your first memory of going to the theatre?
When I was 10-years-old, I attended a performance of Phantom of the Opera a week or two after 9/11. The theatre was less than a quarter full. Many people were still frightened to go out. When the curtain rose for the beginning of Act II, the show stopped as all the audience members clapped for a good minute or two to share their appreciation for the artists on and behind the stage. I distinctly remember holding tears back. It was that moment that made me love the art form beyond just enjoying the spectacle. I started wondering about how theatre also fed my soul and could be a tool for transformation with the ability to build empathy during dark and challenging times.
Who inspires you?
Immigrants! My family is an immigrant family, living in multiple worlds, cultures, and languages simultaneously. I’ve been thinking more about my late Filipino grandfather who was in the American army in World War II; my father and his friends who were active in the protests against the dictatorship of Filipino Dictator Ferdinand Marcos; as well as my aunt, the former Executive Director of the Women’s Crisis Center in Manila. My family’s legacy as community leaders and activists continues to fuel and inspire my artistry on and off stage.
Without live theatre, what have you been consuming?
I’ve been playing lots of Virtual Reality (VR) video games. The storytelling via VR has become so sophisticated, and it is interesting to see theatre artists using the medium to create theatrical events during the pandemic. I’ve also been professionally virtually directing and dramaturging new theatrical work, having notably directed on Zoom for Rattlestick/Pride Play Festival last year. Oh yeah, I’ve been attending ASL (American Sign Language) school. I was formally learning ASL before the shutdown last March and I am happy to be continuing my studies virtually. When we do return to in-person events, I cannot wait to get back to my local boxing gym! I’ve been shadow boxing in my apartment, but it’s not the same as sparring or punching a bag.