Meet Directors Salon Panelist Davis McCallum!

We’re so excited to have Davis McCallum on our Director Panel on Tuesday, April 12th!

Davis recently directed the world premiere of Molly Smith Metzler’s Elemeno Pea at the 2011 Humana Festival. Check out our Q&A with Davis below and come see him speak at The 2nd Annual Working Theater Directors Salon next week!


Director Davis McCallum


Q:  What kind of work inspires you?

A:  Anything that engages the audience’s imagination. I’m big on story and I like to feel like I’m pulled all the way through a piece by the continuing need to know what’s going to happen next.

Q:  What was the most difficult part about being an emerging director?  What were some of the challenges you faced in the early stages of your career?

A:  I think one of the hardest things is just knowing where to start. Actors can audition. Playwrights can make a big pot of coffee and start writing something. Directors need collaborators and time and space to practice their craft, and that’s the hard part. 

Some challenges: paying rent; balancing assisting with pursuing my own work; finding collaborators that you trust and that trust you; knowing what I really wanted to do as a director and an artist as opposed to what I thought other people might like.

Q:  What kind of advice would you give young directors?

A:  My advice is: move to NY and in the first year you’re in the city:

1. Rent an apartment. Make sure it’s cheap and make sure to get your name on the lease.

2. Assist on one show with a director whose work you genuinely admire. (Don’t be afraid to write letters or emails and ask if they’ve got projects coming up that need assistants.)

3. Do a small project of your own chosing, something that you care A LOT about, in a festival, or part of night of shorts, or even if it’s in your own living room.

If you can do those three things in your first year in the city and retain your sanity, you deserve a steak dinner and a ticker-tape parade.

Davis McCallum will be speaking at The 2nd Annual Working Theater Directors Salon’s Director Panel on Tuesday, April 12th at The Studio Theatre at Theatre Row.  Admission to all Salon events is FREE, but click here to reserve tickets.  For a full schedule of events, visit us on Facebook or check out our website.

Davis McCallum recently directed the world premiere of Molly Smith Metzler’s Elemeno Pea at the 2011 Humana Festival. NEW YORK: Sam Hunter’s A Bright New Boise (Partial Comfort) and Five Gencoides (Clubbed Thumb), Greg Moss’s punkplay (Clubbed Thumb), Chuck Mee’s Queens Boulevard (Signature Theater), Quiara Hudes’ Elliot: A Soldier’s Fugue (P73; Pulitzer Prize Finalist),  Henry V (New Victory), Jane Eyre, The Tempest, The Turn Of The Screw (The Acting Company), Unbound: The Journals of Fanny Kemble (co-created with Laura Marks), The Belle’s Stratagem, Rob Urbinati’s West Moon Street (Prospect Theater Company), and Chuck Mee’s Perfect Wedding (NYU Grad Acting). REGIONAL: the Guthrie, the Old Globe, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Williamstown, Alliance Theater Company, Chautauqua Theater Company, the O’Neill, Playmakers Rep, Two River, New York Stage & Film, others. OTHER: Drama League Fellowship (2001); Phil Killian Fellowship at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (2003); NEA/TCG Career Development Program (2007); Boris Sagal Fellowship at Williamstown Theater Festival (2010). He has taught at Princeton University and the National Theater Institute, and is currently on the faculty at the New School for Drama. He trained at LAMDA and studied at Princeton and Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar.



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