Bill Davidson

Bill Davidson, professionally known as William Davidson, is a former professional actor with a four year Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Alberta’s highly regarded BFA professional acting program, and over ten years of work experience as a member of Actra, (The Association of Canadian Television and Radio Artists, the professional film and media actors union), and 12 years as a member of Actors Equity (C.A.E.A-Canadian Actors Equity Association, the professional theatre actors union).

He actually started acting in Elementary school, then after a long absence decided to take an acting option while a Science major at the University of Manitoba. He got hooked with the bug again and joined the University of Manitoba Theatre Group and performed substantial roles in four productions there, before taking a year off to apply to and audition for professional acting training programs in both the US and Canada. He was accepted into the New York University Professional Acting program, but while auditioning for the Julliard School he was referred by the head of that school to the University of Alberta BFA program as the Canadian equivalent of the Julliard School and advised to apply there, which he did later that same year do. During that year off he also appeared in his first professional CAEA production in small roles in Robin Hood on the mainstage of The Manitoba Theatre Centre in Winnipeg.

Accepted as one of 16 students chosen from across Canada for the then four year BFA program at the U of A, which was and still is considered the top university program for acting in Canada,. While training there he was awarded eight merit based bursaries and scholarships over four years from The Manitoba Theatre Centre, The Citadel Theatre, The Manitoba Arts Council, and the U of A’s Sandra Faye Guberman award for outstanding work in the core classes of acting, movement, and voice and speech. While still in school he scored his second professional gig with a summer touring big musical.

While still in the BFA and afterwards, Bill also took a number of week-long intensive workshops with some very notable instructors. These include Voice and Speech with world renowned voice teacher and author Cecily Berry, voice coach for the Royal Shakespeare Company in England, (he actually over the years took two workshops with her), Acting with Robert Bennedetti, acting book author and then the head of acting at the California Institute for the Arts, and Acting Shakespeare with Michael Langham, first director brought in from England to help start the Stratford Festival in Canada, and at the time the head of the acting division at the prestigious Julliard School in New York.

After graduating Mr. Davidson worked for pretty much every existing theatre in Edmonton, including Workshop West, Northern Lights Theatre, Stage West, Catalyst Theatre, the Citadel Theatre, The Phoenix Theatre, Nexus/Lunchbox Theatre, Theatre Network, Teatro De Quindicina, and appeared in seven Fringe festivals in 9 different productions. From starting with U of Manitoba he appeared in some 60 theatre productions before retiring from acting, in a space of 16 years.

He also helped form two different independent acting companies. He was assistant director on the Accidental Death of an Anarchist, for Tigerhill theatre sponsored by Northern Lights Theatre, to Arturo Corso of Milan Italy, an associate of the world famous political Italian playwright Dario Fo. He directed the Sam Shepherd one act Cowboys #2 to go along with a collective remount of the Fringe hit The Unseen Hand, and the full length Sam Shepard play Angel City at the Library theater sponsored by Edmonton Library which was a Fringe hit in its remount there. During the last few years of his acting and the first few years of the Edmonton Sterling Theatre Awards, he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor and best Actor in a lead. He won two other Sterling Awards, one as part of the TigerHill Group sponsored by Northern Lights for Best Production by an Independent for The Accidental Death of an Anarchist, and another for his self-produced one man show Mamet’s Shorts, a collection of David Mamet monologues, for best independent production. He was known as a talented character actor. Some of his favorite theatre roles include: Romeo in Romeo and Juliet; Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet; Malvolio in Twelfth Night; Gar in Philadelphia Here I Come(a 70 year old Irish character); Dodge in Buried Child, a dying 70 something with a dark secret; Blue Morphan in The Unseen Hand, a 100 year old former cowboy, Algernon in The Importance of Being Earnest, an anniversary co-production with the Phoenix and Northern Light Theatres, as all the roles in his one man show, and as the film noir detective in the original Fringe production of The Maltese Bodkin which was also recorded afterwards in studio by CKUA radio and aired on that station, and getting to sing a cowboy song at the Fringe recorded live by CBC national radio, and aired as part of the whole cowboy poetry and monologues show The Puff and Blow Boys, (terrible name but named after a Valley in Alberta where a yearly cowboy poetry festival was held), on The Peter Gzowski Show and aired in 5 segments on national radio. He also got to sing that song again, in a prerecorded full version of the show for Alberta CBC Radio in an improved version when the guitar player was in the right key.

For media work, in his ten years as an ACTRA member, he had some 40 credits for SOC and speaking roles on Actra productions, including a number of commercials, a number of radio plays for CKUA and CBC, including individual short story and poetry readings for CBC, voice over work including the narrating voice of Albert Einstein for the Edmonton and Calgary Space Science Centre’s production Black Holes, also the sole narrator for the show Dinosaurs there, stints as an on-camera host, corporate training videos both as actor and narrator, and various Actor and Principal roles on film and TV productions including six different roles on the Allarcom produced Hollywood Babylon series, (which still isn’t listed properly on the IMDB). Amongst these film and TV roles a few of his favourites were playing a young version of the Kennedy family matriarch Joseph Kennedy, and it also includes a Principal role he auditioned for an won but never got to finish on The Unforgiven, due to a blizzard. He did however get out of that a nice chat with Clint Eastwood, a discussion on actors training with Gene Hackman, and played the New York Times Crossword puzzle with Morgan Freeman, who was really good at it and tough to compete with. It didn’t really make up for not doing the speaking part of the role though.

Other industry related jobs included working on a couple of casting projects for The Other Agency casting while still an actor, including subbing in for the casting director on one occasion and conducting by himself a whole day of kids commercial auditions for them. He also worked as the First Assistant Director on a television pilot, and very recently acted as the story editor and script advisor for an as yet to be produced Feature Film.