January 1, 2008 marked an especially auspicious new year for the William Davis Centre for Actors’ Study, one of Vancouver’s oldest privately owned actor training institutions. On that date after 10 months of planning, the school officially became the William Davis Centre for Actors’ Study at VanArts, when VanArts’ President Alan Phillips and WDC (as it came to be known) owners Christine Willes and Greg Kean finalized their agreement.
Founded in 1989 by well-known Canadian actor, teacher, and director William B. Davis, WDC has pursued its mandate to provide quality actor training to students at all stages of their development. Mr. Davis was cast as the Cigarette Smoking Man in the hit TV series, X-FILES in the early nineties. By then many instructors had found WDC to be a remarkably rewarding workplace. Several made a commitment to the school that continues to this day. They include current department head for the Acting for Film and TV diploma program Christine Willes, Chilton Crane (Film and TV); Sarah Louise Turner (Voice and Speech); and Julie Howgate (Intro to Acting).
As Mr. Davis’ fame grew, several WDC graduates became nationally and internationally recognized for the excellence of their acting work. Lucy Lawless became a household name playing the title role in Xena Warrior Princess. Nancy Sivak (The Life), William MacDonald (Protection), and Sarah Jane Redmond (Taming Tammy), became highly respected Vancouver film and TV actors. And recently they have been joined by successful grads Aaron Douglas (Battlestar Galactica), Vanesa Tomasino (Urban Beat), and Giles Panton (Flash Gordon).
William B. Davis has given his blessing on the move to VanArts and is very excited about the opportunities the merger opens up. Plans have already been finalized to have acting students work with students in VanArts’ Visual Effects program on a production shooting and post production project. The merger of the William Davis Centre for Actors’ Study and VanArts offers serious acting students the best education possible in the art and craft of acting for filmed entertainment