ADV – Leaderboard

Will Davis. (Photo by: Sammy Tunis)

Will Davis Named Rattlestick Artistic Director

When the busy director succeeds Daniella Topol in the position as of May 1, he will be the first transgender leader of a major non-LGBTQ-specific theatre.

NEW YORK CITY: Rattlestick Theater has appointed multi-disciplinary artist Will Davis to be the organization’s next artistic director. Following an inclusive nationwide search led by ALJP Consulting and a dedicated group of board, staff, and affiliated artists, Davis has been selected to succeed Daniella Topol, who has been artistic director since 2016. He will assume the role full time as of May 1, after working alongside Topol for the next few months.

“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,” said board and search committee chair Jeff Thamkittikasem in a statement.

Davis is a transgender director and choreographer focused on producing physically adventurous new work for the stage. He is the first transgender person to lead a major nonprofit institution without a defined LGBTQ mission. Davis’s Off-Broadway credits include: Road Show (Encores! Off-Center), India Pale Ale (MTC), Bobbie Clearly (Roundabout Underground), Charm (MCC), CALIFORNIA (Clubbed Thumb), and Men on Boats (Clubbed Thumb and Playwrights Horizons). Some of his regional credits include As You Like It (La Jolla Playhouse), The Swindlers (Baltimore Center Stage), Everybody (Shakespeare Theater Company), A Doll’s House, Part 2 (Long Wharf Theatre), and multiple productions for American Theater Company in Chicago, where Davis also served as artistic director.

“I’m delighted to lead Rattlestick and look forward to working with the board and staff to launch the exciting next chapter for this remarkable theatre,” said Davis in a statement. “I’m grateful to Daniella Topol for her years of excellent leadership and for the opportunity to carry her work forward.”

Davis is a member of the TCG board of directors, and the Breaking the Binary Festival’s advisory council. He is an alum of the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, the NYTW 2050 Directing Fellowship, the Brooklyn Art Exchange’s Artist in Residence program, and the Princeton Arts Fellowship. Currently, he is an associate professor of Directing in the John Wells Directing Program at the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama.

“Rattlestick has long been known for inventive and ambitious new work and it will continue to be a theater focused on the future of the form,” Davis continued. “Rattlestick is also a community-centered civic space, and I look forward to deepening our invitation to artists and community members who are looking for a place to call home. It’s thrilling to return to the downtown theatre landscape where I began my career, and I cannot wait to get started.”

Founded in 1994, Rattlestick Theater is an off-Broadway theatre in New York’s West Village. The theatre seeks to produce provocative works that are essential, urgent, and necessary to artists and audiences in NYC and the global community. As of 2020, Rattlestick had an approximate budget of $1.2 million.

Support American Theatre: a just and thriving theatre ecology begins with information for all. Please join us in this mission by joining TCG, which entitles you to copies of our quarterly print magazine and helps support a long legacy of quality nonprofit arts journalism.

ADV – Billboard