As artistic director of St. Petersburg's freeFall Theater Company, Eric Davis - who co-founded freeFall in 2008 - is the city's chief theatrical daredevil and risk-taker. From the beginning, freeFall has specialized in work that challenges the head and the heart; from classic dramas and comedies to edgy new works, from musicals (both classic and non-traditional) to plays that defy singular description, each season is anything but ordinary. A little background: Eric Davis was a trained professional actor and singer when he left California for Tampa Bay in 1998. For three years, he worked at Center Theatre Company, the resident thespian aggregate at the Straz Center’s Jaeb Theatre, and subsequently spent another five years teaching theater at Tampa’s Blake High School, a magnet school with a strong arts program. He writes, directs, designs and acts at freeFall, sometimes wearing all the hats at once.
Years in St. Pete
I’ve lived in Tampa Bay for about 22 years, and have been in St. Petersburg for about half of that.
Organizations involved in
In the past, I’ve done work locally with the Straz, American Stage, Stageworks and Gorilla Theatre, and taught at Blake School of the Arts.
What gets you out of bed every day?
Working toward the next deadline.
Why St. Pete?
Life takes us down unexpected paths.
What is one habit that you keep?
Being a night owl.
Who are some people that influence you?
Bill Rausch, former artistic director of Oregon Shakespeare Festival; the UK theatre troupe Frantic Assembly
What is one piece of insight - a book, methodology, practice - that you would share with our readers?
I’ve always enjoyed Rilke’s “Letters to a Young Poet.”
What is one thing you wish you knew about your work 3 years ago?
I’d always wish to know what shows would be audience favorites. We have some good guesses, but there are always big surprises. It’s far from the only factor that goes into season selection, but having a crystal ball into how a particular show will be received would be fun.
Hopefully safely reopening the theater in the coming months.