Header image: Jackie Davis as Jasmine with Aizhaneya Carter as Keisha in Fairview. Photo by Cat Laine.
Jackie Davis is Trinity Rep’s newest resident company member, but if you’ve been around the organization for the past few years, you may have already met her. Whether on-stage, in the classroom, or out in the community, Jackie’s been pretty busy at the theater over the past few years!
Jackie joined Trinity Rep’s education department in 2012 as a Young Actors Summer Institute instructor, and would later join the Brown/Trinity Rep MFA Program movement faculty. After participating in Trinity Rep’s Every 28 Hours playreading festival in 2016, Jackie made her Trinity Rep on-stage debut in 2019’s black odyssey. Jackie has since become a frequent face in the Chace and Dowling Theaters, with recent roles including Jasmine in Fairview, Jacques One/Ensemble in A Tale of Two Cities, Mame in Radio Golf, and Woman With Furs in Marisol. She has also performed at The Gamm Theatre, Wilbury Theatre Group, The Lyric Stage Company, and SpeakEasy Stage, among others.
“In hindsight, I think I’ve always wanted to be some type of performer and director since I was a kid,” Jackie said. “I remember staging little skits with my brothers and sisters, kind of telling them where to go and what to do.”
But Jackie’s early career was not in the arts. Instead, she worked in various administrative and executive assistant roles. It wasn’t until she joined a hip-hop dance group in her late 20s that she rediscovered her calling.
“I auditioned with a hip-hop piece for a show, and then the director pulled me aside, said what I did was great, and asked me to read for Helena in his production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Jackie recalled. “It was absolutely random, but I love it. Theater has been a part of my core since.”
Jackie’s dance background helped her grow into an established choreographer and dance teacher. She said her choreography experience easily segued into directing, with her most recent directing credit being Antigonx with The Wilbury Theatre Group. Although she’s not currently slated to direct at Trinity Rep this season, she would love to do so in the future.
This season, she has two roles in The Inheritance – one on stage, the other off. In The Inheritance Part 2, she plays Margaret, a character who Jackie says has a beautiful and heartbreaking story. But Jackie is also The Inheritance’s intimacy choreographer, meaning she stages intimate scenes while keeping performers’ boundaries in mind. She previously choreographed intimacy for now-company member Tatyana-Marie Carlo’s Brown/Trinity Rep thesis project References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot.
“Speaking with Joe and his vision for what this intimacy will look like, we knew we didn’t want anything too on-the-nose, but something really poetic and dancelike,” Jackie said. “So we’re using my dance vision and my director’s vision. That’s going to be challenging, but there are beautiful moments that I hope we can make happen with the ensemble.”
Jackie’s advice for anyone interested in pursuing the arts is to “just do it.” She told us that you’re never too old, or too young, to go for what you want.
Her other recommendation? Working on new play workshops. She said this allows you to practice new material and meet new people. For example, over the summer she joined fellow company member Joe Wilson, Jr., Brown/Trinity Rep alumni Rodney Witherspoon II and Kalyne Coleman, and Director of Community Engagement Michelle Cruz in workshop readings of a new play developed for specifically for Trinity Rep. The play, which is currently untitled, is being written by Pulitzer Prize-winner James Ijames and focuses on health care disparities among Black Americans.
Beyond her upcoming projects, Jackie said she’s especially excited to see this year’s production of Sweeney Todd, especially Joe Wilson, Jr. and Rachael Warren as Sweeney Todd and Mrs. Lovett. Jackie said she’s glad to have befriended many company members who’ve given her a sense of belonging at the theater.
“Since and before black odyssey, I’ve felt a kinship with Trinity Rep,” Jackie said. “It’s been wonderful to be recognized and officially be taken into the fold. I’ve felt the embrace and love from everyone at Trinity Rep for the longest time, so it feels like I’m coming home.”