David Russell Beach is a playwright, director and educator. Born into a military family, he moved around as a kid and continued doing so as an adult until it was just time to settle down. He now makes his home in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwest Virginia where he teaches, writes and directs.
David remembers stepping out on stage around age 3, before a showing of Cleopatra at the base cinema which his father ran. His first play, An Old Western Settlement, written in 6th grade, is lost to the ages, but he does remember the laugh line about the western settlers, circa 1860, needing penicillin for an infection. He has since become more adept at fact checking.
Over the years, David has attended thousands of performances on five continents ranging from elementary school shows to West End / Broadway productions.
After a ten-year hiatus from the stage (to work on his PhD), David returned to the boards playing Juror #8 in Twelve Angry Men. That started his involvement with two community theatres in Morgantown, West Virginia, with which he acted, directed, teched, dramaturged, built and painted sets, ran box office and concessions, and wrote a little on the side.
One night, after a new play festival, two playwrights asked him to play the lead in their new play. The three of them and three others embarked on a four-month journey of re-thinking and re-envisioning the script, rehearsing, building the set, and having potentially fatal accidents in rehearsal and performance. David writes:
At some point during that show, I knew I had to start writing—to create other worlds and to work with others to realize those worlds, for those worlds tell us stories about ourselves. In these created worlds, in which we trust each other with words, actions and lives, we try to work out what’s wrong with ourselves, our societies, our tribes, our –isms, in an attempt to remake our world better for all. It doesn’t always work, of course, but we move forward, inch by inch, to let others see these worlds, to be agents of change, to call out the wrong, to enlighten our lives. The words of a playwright in the hands of an adept director and brought to life by able casts and crews can move the world towards betterment, and I have to be part of that process.
Since that moment, David has sought to hone his writing and directing skills. David left West Virginia and returned to Southwest Virginia in 2016. He is currently an associate professor of English at Radford University where he teaches writing, drama, playwriting and linguistics, and mentors graduate teaching assistants. He writes, directs and sometimes acts for various theatre groups. He lives in the New River Valley with his partner, Bruce, and their various four-legged creatures.