Though more widely known as an actor, Davis has had a distinguished career as a theatre director and directing for the stage still remains the love of his life. Davis has also directed for film and television. His short films have been widely screened at many festivals. See William B. Davis Productions for more details.

Davis on directing: "Despite years of making a living as an actor, I still think of myself as a director. I guess since I started directing as a teenager and continued for another 20 odd years it is deep in my bones. Is it because I like control or because acting doesn't seem like real work? When I was young, acting seemed like play and directing seemed a serious occupation. But at theatre school, I began to understand the craft of acting and to appreciate both acting and directing as unique art forms. Directing for film is yet another form, combining some of the elements of theatre directing but adding many new challenges. One of these days I will settle on a career!"

In October 2017, Western Gold Theatre presented Davis' production of Elliott Haye's Homeward Bound, starring Anna Hagan, Mia Ingimundson, Seth Little, Jordon Navratil, Howard Siegel, and Chris Walters, in the 1991 Canadian dramedy of manners, a celebration of life and an acceptance of death.

In recent years, Davis has frequently directed at the Jericho Arts Centre, where he most recently staged J.B. Priestley's An Inspector Calls, featuring John Prowse as the titular Inspector as well as many other beloved local actors. He also directed Robert Bolt's classic, A Man for All Seasons, produced by United Players (September 2015), The Habit of Art by Alan Bennett (September 2013), Hay Fever by Noel Coward (September 2011) and Waste by Harley Granville Barker (January 2011). Mr. Davis' staging of Barbara Ellison's Matters Domestic played at The Vancouver International Fringe Festival in 2009; Matters Domestic was one of the few Fringe shows selected for holdover.  

All of his shows have been well received and reviewed.

From Entertainment Vancouver: A Man for All Seasons
"Watching the current production of Robert Bolt’s “A Man For All Seasons” unfold 
at the Jericho Arts Centre is like watching a master painter at work.  You already
know what the picture may look like at the end, but the amazing colours and
masterful brush strokes keep you mesmerized to the end. William B. Davis has again
put 
his masterful hand to a theatre classic...a winner of a production."

AMFAS

And previously... From reviewvancouver: The Habit of Art
"Director William B. Davis once again proves himself to be an actors’ director,
playing up nuance after nuance of the emotional entanglements, not only with
respect to his principals, but also the brightly shining lesser lights, and
yielding up collaborative, interactive excellence in a highly watchable play."  
© 2013 Roger Wayne Eberle

Previous artistic leadership:

  • Producer/Artistic Director, The Straw Hat Players, Ontario
  • Associate Director/Manager, The Civic Theatre, Chesterfield, UK
  • Artistic/General Director, The Dundee Repertory Theatre, Dundee, UK
  • Assistant Director, The National Theatre of Great Britain
  • Artistic Director, The National Theatre School of Canada
  • Artistic Director, Festival Lennoxville, Lennoxville, Quebec
  • Producer and Executive Producer, CBC Radio Drama
  • Artistic Director, Vancouver Playhouse Theatre School
  • Founder/Artistic Director, The William Davis Centre for Actors’ Study

In addition to his work with these companies, Davis has worked as a freelance director with many theatres in Britain as well as most of the regional theatres in Canada, including The Neptune Theatre in Halifax, The Globe Theatre in Regina, Theatre New Brunswick and three times at The Vancouver Playhouse. In 1975, he received the Best Director Award from The Montreal Star.