Backstage with TCC grad Doris Davis

August 22, 2016
Doris Day poses in front of stage curtain

Her dream was to be on Broadway, but Doris Davis found the next best thing.

At 85 years old, Davis earned her Career Studies Certificate in Theatre Arts from Tidewater Community College in May.

Davis was part of the cast for the college’s spring 2016 production of “An Evening of Shel’s Shorts” by Shel Silverstein, which included 11 imaginative plays wrapped into one production at the Black Box Theatre on TCC’s Chesapeake Campus.

“I had the time of my life. I loved everything about the program,” said Davis, touting Matt Gorris, who she calls “Mr. G.”

During her time at TCC, the Chesapeake resident learning about acting, directing, lighting and sound. She also constructed scenery. “I still have my hard hat in my car,” she said with a laugh.

Davis noted that her initial fears of coming to college as a senior citizen were put to rest the first week of classes. “I wasn’t sure if the younger people would accept me, but they did. And they always included me.”

Davis also got involved in the front of the house, selling tickets for productions and talking with guests. 

“Everyone here is geared to help you. If you don’t pass your classes, it’s because you’re not doing anything,” Davis added.

A registered nurse, Davis spent four decades caring for geriatric patients. “I loved hearing their stories. I even had one patient who worked on the Titanic, and he had some tall tales,” Davis said.

She and Mayo Davis, an Army veteran, were married for 40 years and raised three children. 

Davis worked well into her 70s, but slowed down after the loss of her husband and a daughter, Doris Branch.

“I won’t be one of those old people who die of loneliness. I can always find something to do and some way to serve,” she said. “I came to TCC because it was close to home and had a good reputation. Her husband and daughter Dellma Bailey each earned an Associate of Science in Social Sciences at TCC.

Active in Welcome Temple Community Church in Chesapeake, Davis visits anyone who is sick and is the official “grandma” of her congregation. A certified STD/HIV trainer, Davis continues to volunteer in the community. She is also a published poet and enjoys weekly bible study. Davis plans to continue her association with TCC’s Theatre department as a volunteer.

Said Davis, “I tell everyone I know to never stop learning, never stop living.”

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