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Color: Green, orange, black
Food: All Food
Quote: And there you have it. -- It speaks for itself.
Season: Spring
Vacation Destination: North Carolina
Birthplace
Washington, District of Columbia
Interview Description:

Biography |

Interview Date: 10/25/2016

Theater director and stage producer Clinton Turner Davis was born April 9, 1949 in Washington, D.C. He attended McKinley Technical High School, where he performed in plays and was president of the thespian club. While he briefly attended Hanover College in Hanover, Indiana, Davis would go on to earn his B.F.A. degree in theater from Howard University in 1972.

After being cast in Slaughterhouse Play at the Public Theatre in New York City, Davis began his career with the Negro Ensemble Company in 1972 as production stage manager for The Great Macdaddy at St. Mark’s Playhouse. Throughout the 1970s, Davis was stage manager for a succession of Negro Ensemble Company productions, including Eden, Nevis Mountain Dew, Old Phantoms: A Play in Two Acts, The Sixteenth Round, Zooman and the Sign, Weep Not for Me and Home. In 1982, Davis made his directorial debut with Abercrombie Apocalypse: An American Tragedy at Westside Arts Theatre in New York City. Produced by Negro Ensemble Company and written by playwright Paul Carter Harrison, the off-Broadway drama starred Graham Brown, Timothy B. Lynch, and Barbara Montgomery. Davis would direct Pearl Cleage’s first play, Puppetplay, at Theatre Four in New York City in 1982, and was stage manager for Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music in 1983. Additional Negro Ensemble Company productions directed by Davis in the 1980s included Two Can Play, House of Shadows and That Serious He-Man Ball. In 1986, Davis co-founded Non-Traditional Casting Project, dedicated to the eradication of racism in American theater. He then directed his first August Wilson play, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, at Theatreworks in Palo Alto, California in 1989. At the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 1993, Davis directed Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, the first time the festival produced a work by an African American playwright. In 2013, he directed Charles Fuller’s One Night..., which focuses on issues of sexual assault in the U.S. Armed Forces. Davis is an associate professor of drama at Colorado College in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

He has served as a director for the American Young Playwrights Festival in New York City, has been a guest lecturer at Yale University, Dartmouth College, Columbia University, The Ohio State University, and Howard University and has directed theater productions at The Juilliard School, Brandeis University, and Colorado College, among many others. Davis has received a Distinguished Alumni Award from Howard University, in addition to Dallas Theatre, Bay Area, and Drama-logue Critics’ Awards.

Davis lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Clinton Turner Davis was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 25, 2016.

Speaker Bureau Notes: