William’s directing career spans decades, from directing Donald Sutherland in Two for the Seesaw at the Chesterfield Rep, Brian Cox in A Man for All Seasons at the Dundee Rep in the early sixties to directing Look Back in Anger in Vancouver in 2020. In between he has directed well over 150 plays in various theatres across Canada, the UK, and the US.

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​William B. Davis brings you the John Osborne's play that rocked the theatre world!


Look Back in Anger (1956) is a realist play written by John Osborne. It focuses on the life and marital struggles of an intelligent and educated but disaffected young man of working-class origin, Jimmy Porter, and his equally competent yet impassive upper-middle-class wife Alison. The supporting characters include Cliff Lewis, an amiable Welsh lodger who attempts to keep the peace; and Helena Charles, Alison's snobbish friend.

Osborne drew inspiration from his personal life and failing marriage while writing Look Back in Anger, which was his first successful outing as a playwright. The play spawned the term "angry young men" to describe Osborne and those of his generation who employed the harshness of realism in the theatre in contrast to the more escapist theatre that characterized the previous generation. This harsh realism has led to Look Back in Anger being considered one of the first examples of kitchen sink drama in theatre.

The play was received favorably in the theatre community becoming an enormous commercial success It is credited with turning Osborne from a struggling playwright into a wealthy and famous personality, and also won him the Evening Standard Drama Awards the most promising playwright of 1956.

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William B. Davis also directed:

The Habit of Art by Alan Bennett (September 2013),

Hay Fever by Noel Coward (September 2011)

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 shows have been well received and reviewed.




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."  

Review Vancouver

2013 by 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.