We had the good fortune of connecting with Jono Davis and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jono, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I grew up in a household where art and music were encouraged. My parents are musicians and had me participating in extracurricular activities at a very young age. I was hit in the head with too many soccer balls, so I gave up on sports and pursued the arts. Fortunately, I was surrounded by several influential people who believed careers can be carved from theatre, art, and music, so it didn’t take much convincing when I decided creativity is what I wanted to do with my life. When I graduated from college and worked as a freelance actor, I found a passion in arts management and administration. To me, it’s just as gratifying to advocate for your craft as it is to practice it. I chose this path because it makes me happy. I’d rather have the struggles that come with a creative career than being unhappy in a profession that might be more financially stable.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I love my community. I love the people I work with and the opportunities I’ve been given to produce and create. Cobb County has been extraordinarily supportive of the wild ideas I’ve had for our venue. From our musicals-in-concert series and holiday programming to our drive-in cabarets and streaming performances, I love to take an idea and turn it on its head. With creativity, I like to paint myself into a corner, then walk up the wall. While this pandemic has done a number on the arts (our facility has been closed since March), I’ve had the time to work on other creative projects. I’ve enjoyed making costumes out of items found around the theatre. For the first 100 days of this pandemic, I honored 100 members of this industry by making paper bag puppets of their likenesses. Was it easy? Of course not. I was partially dying inside because the theatre industry is taking the longest intermission ever; it’s all a coping mechanism, I guess. I overcome these challenges by taking my time and reminding myself that this pandemic isn’t the end of theatre, it’s only a roadblock. Choo choo, kids! Working in the arts can come with heavy emotions. I strive to provide our artists and renters a positive and safe environment to create. Hold me accountable to my promises; let’s build this together! A good workspace contributes to a good headspace and I think it’s important to keep mental health at the forefront, even when you’re living your dream. I also just realized, in the last paragraph, I typed out the sound of a train when talking about roadblocks. You know what…I’m going to keep it. No delete button for me!!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’m going to be honest. The older I get, the more I’m becoming a boring homebody. If I have a friend staying with me for a FULL WEEK, I would try to convince them to binge-watch a television show (one that I’ve probably already seen) and order DoorDash for most nights. I’m only partially joking. Take this pandemic aside, I would treat them to some good eateries (R. Thomas and Taqueria Tsunami are favorites) and find an activity or event to attend. One of my favorite spots is the Roswell Mill and waterfall. It’s a peaceful place to tune-out the rest of the world (and, let’s be real, probably the friend who’s been staying with you for a week.)
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
One of my 2020 goals was actually to be more vocal about my appreciation for those who’ve made an impact on my life and career. My employers (current and former), actors and musicians who’ve taken a chance on my work, coworkers who put up with me, my supportive husband…the list is endless but the gratitude is not lost on me. I think the biggest shoutout goes to the Atlanta theatre community as a whole. Many have seen me at my highest, lowest, most toxic, and most creative; I am a work in progress and I am forever grateful for the patience and grace this industry has provided me.
Other: Other Instagram handles: @iamjonodavis @stagebagz
Kevin Harry, Cory Hancock