Russell Davis

2008 Pew Fellow

Russell Davis, 2008 Pew Fellow. Directed by Glenn Holsten.

“Moments of grace or insight or good writing actually are dependent on a day-to-day process.”

Russell Davis (b. 1948) is a politically engaged playwright with a long and distinguished career. In his view, “what makes a play is language, is subtext, and how language can play off of silence, or unacknowledged emotions or intentions, and be the mere surface, the very tip, of what is going on. What makes a play are the choices of setting and lighting, the choices of actors and director, and how all these can come together sometimes in one huge and surprising whole.”

Davis’ plays include Cecilia’s Last Tea Party, Appointment with a High Wire Lady, Crispin: The Cross of Lead,* The Song of Grendelyn*, The Second Death of Pricilla, and The Thoughts & Travels of Nicki. They have been produced at various theaters, some of which include the Passage Theatre Company, Trenton, NJ; School House Theatre, Croton Falls, NY; Ensemble Studio Theatre, New York City, NY; People’s Light & Theatre Company, Malvern, PA; and the Touchstone Theatre, Bethlehem, PA. In 2004, Davis received a playwright fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and from 1999–2001, he was resident playwright at People’s Light & Theatre Company for the Theatre Residency Program of the National Endowment for the Arts/Theatre Communications Group. Davis received two earlier fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts as well as grants from the McKnight Foundation, the Tennessee Arts Commission, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the New York State Council on the Arts.

Edmunds, executive and artistic director of the Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA, is The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage’s first visiting scholar. Paula Marincola, the Center’s executive director, spoke with her about the opportunity.

Grants & Grantees

Winner of two ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming, the Crossing is a professional contemporary chamber choir conducted by Donald Nally.

The Pennsylvania Ballet acquired William Forsythe’s contemporary dance masterpiece In the middle, somewhat elevated.

Grants & Grantees

Network for New Music brought renowned composer John Harbison to Philadelphia for a week-long mini-festival that celebrated his career of classical- and jazz-inspired chamber music.

Grants & Grantees

Pig Iron is a company specializing in exuberant ensemble-devised works. The organization has begun to train the next generation of daring physical theater artists through the Pig Iron School of Advanced Performing Training.

Grants & Grantees

Theatre Exile produces risky and challenging plays that contain a sense of grit and passion.

Vogel’s world premiere play delved into prevalent issues of post-traumatic stress disorder and sexual assault in the military, and was the final act of a bold experiment in theater-making as a collaborative journey.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Rainey has performed with companies such as Dance Theatre of Harlem and Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre, and he was a soloist with Pennsylvania Ballet from 1999–2006.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Sally Berger is a film and media curator, lecturer, and writer, and serves as assistant curator of the department of film at The Museum of Modern Art.

Experimental theater artist Romeo Castellucci speaks with Philadelphia Museum of Art curator Carlos Basualdo about his training, art history, performance art, and the use of the image in theater.

Grants & Grantees

Bruce Graham is a playwright and a 1993 Pew Fellow.

Grants & Grantees

Frances McElroy (Pew Fellow, 2009) creates elegantly crafted documentaries that delve deeply into personal stories.