UNCG Magazine

Steven Lloyd leads NC mountains’ most impactful theater complex

Steven Lloyd ’85 MFA arrived in Waynesville as a visiting artist at Haywood County Community College. That was 1988. He’d soon lead the town’s theater organization.

“In 1993, we moved out of an old theater downtown and we built a 250-seat facility,” he says. The rest is North Carolina theater history.

The Haywood Arts Regional Theater, with Lloyd as executive director, became a beacon for the arts in the high country between Asheville and Cherokee. One publication recently pegged its economic impact on Haywood County at around $3 million. To accommodate the demand (particularly from tourists0, they have three performance spaces now, ensuring at least production is available during the tourist seasons.

The Museum of North Carolina Handicrafts shares the same property.

He and his husband, Daniel, have been together for 33 years, he tells us. “I now have seven grandchildren – a gay man who has many grandkids!”

Lloyd says, “I’m proud of all the lives I’ve changed.” Generations of actors have come through the ranks. (It was Lloyd who advised actor Adam Kampouris to enroll at UNCG.) And many have participated out of the spotlight, or taken classes, or become avid theater-goers. 

“We’ve changed the community. We’ve had cutting-edge drama.” 

And he’s fulfilled his dreams. “I’ve lived my bucket list. I’ve overseen more than 100 plays.”

He fulfilled another dream. In 1987, he wrote a two-actor play about Edwin and John Wilkes Booth, who were both actors. “The Actor and the Assassin” premiered in UNCG’s Curry Auditorium, and he and Jerry Sipp ’85 MFA toured the show nationally for 17 years.

He will retire at the end of the year, after 33 years leading HART. Even in retirement, he has one item on his calendar. “I’ll direct a mainstage show next year.”

By Mike Harris ’93 MA

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