Off-Broadway's Rattlestick Theater has found its next artistic director in freelance director and choreographer Will Davis. Davis will succeed Daniella Topol, who stepped up to lead Rattlestick in 2016. Over the the next couple of months, the two will work together until Davis takes over the role full-time May 1 as Topol departs theatre to pursue a career as a nurse.
As reported by The New York Times, Davis is particularly focused on facilitating change and make spaces for historically marginalized artists. “One of the most important things I can do, as a very intentionally, very visible trans person, is offer a mirror to other emerging artists in all disciplines who may not feel like there is a space for them,” said Davis in an interview with Michael Paulson. “I’m very excited to be part of the group of people who can push this door open and leave it open.”
Davis previously served as artistic director of Chicago's American Theater Company. But, the theatre company shut down after experimental programming was followed by a decline in box office revenue. Despite the outcome, Davis remains proud of the work he accomplished there.
Davis currently serves as an Associate Professor of Directing in the John Wells Directing Program at the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama. In turning his sights forward, Davis is excited to keep pushing the form forward. “Rattlestick has always been a home for experimentation, and that has definitely been a part of what my work has been about,” he said.
Founded in 1994, Rattlestick has become known for producing boundary-pushing work from emerging playwrights which are mounted in a 93-seat theatre which will undergo a renovation beginning at the end of this summer. ALJP Consulting led the search, with the consultation of the Rattlestick board and staff.
Said Rattlestick Board Chair and Chair of the search committee, Jeff Thamkittikasem, in a statement: “Will is just an amazing artist with a beautiful eye, and we’re so excited for that aesthetic to be used for developing the culture of Rattlestick.”
Jocelyn Prince, owner and Principal of ALJP, said of the search, in a statement: “Will is a transformative leader in the American theatre. We are thrilled to have facilitated this historic appointment.”