Cumberland University


Larry Davis: Commanding the Stage


To Larry Davis, there is nothing quite like the feeling of being on stage. A sophomore Theatre student and football player at Cumberland University, Davis is rarely far from an audience, performing regularly in student films and theatrical productions.

While his roles may change, Davis’s joy in acting usually springs from the same source: the connection he makes with an audience and his fellow performers.

“It’s the adrenaline rush when you get on stage,” Davis said. “To know that you’re entertaining someone gives you a warm feeling. The atmosphere, the expression on the audience’s faces on a certain line, the people you work with: it’s all exciting.”

As a Theatre student in Cumberland’s School of Music and the Arts, Davis is training to channel that excitement into a professional acting career. Originally from Pensacola, Florida, Davis arrived at Cumberland in the fall of 2011 on a football scholarship.

Davis’s first encounter with the Theatre Department would prove formative. Soon after his arrival, Davis met Technical Assistant to Theatre Chris Byrd, who watched with approval as the young student performed poetry on the stage of Cumberland’s Heydel Fine Arts Center Theatre.

“Just to see the look on his face, I knew this was where I belonged,” Davis said.

After a brief return home, Davis resumed his studies at Cumberland in the spring of 2012, where he has excelled as a Theatre major ever since. Balancing classes, football practice, play rehearsals, and homework, Davis’s schedule is busy but rewarding. Refining his craft as an actor, Davis is learning crucial lessons in vocal articulation, dramatic techniques, and theatre history.

“It’s amazing being a theatre student at CU,” Davis said. “We do many exercises to prepare us for our future as actors. I’ve learned that you have to forget that you’re acting and bring real life into it. When you go on stage, it has to be real.”

Davis credits his professors, especially Elijah Dies, who teaches theatre and speech, with not only creating opportunities for present learning, but also for future career success.

“Our professors are excellent,” Davis said. “Professor Dies is an outstanding teacher. He’s been there in the industry, and he motivates me. He constantly works to build opportunities, openings, for you in the future.”

For Davis, some of those opportunities have already arisen on campus. In early 2012, the aspiring actor performed in Cumberland’s spring play, Deadwood Dick. Davis has also built his experience as an actor and writer with B-Man Productions, a student film group run by fellow Cumberland student Josh McCausland.

Davis hopes to use those experiences as a springboard into the film industry after graduation, planning to start out as an actor and eventually move into writing, directing, and producing.

Wherever Davis may end up in the industry, he knows that his time spent in Cumberland’s School of Music and the Arts will serve him well.

“Cumberland has most definitely prepared me for my future,” Davis said. “The Theatre Department has influenced me to go further. Not all actors succeed, but I want to be in the percentile of actors who make it in the industry.”