Acclaimed actor and playwright Mike Wiley has spent the last decade fulfilling his mission to bring educational theatre to young audiences and communities across the country. In the early days of his career, Wiley found few theatrical resources to shine a light on key events and figures in African-American history. To bring these stories to life, he started his own production company.
Through his performances, Wiley has introduced countless students and communities to the legacies of Emmett Till, Henry “Box” Brown and more. His recent works include a one-man play based on Tim Tyson’s memoir Blood Done Sign My Name and The Parchman Hour, an ensemble production celebrating the bravery and determination of the Freedom Riders who risked their lives to desegregate Southern interstate bus travel in 1961.
Mike Wiley has a Masters of Fine Arts from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is the 2010 and 2014 Lehman Brady Visiting Joint Chair Professor in Documentary Studies and American Studies at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In addition to his numerous school and community performances, he has also appeared on Discovery Channel, The Learning Channel and National Geographic Channel and has been featured in Our State magazine and on PBS’ North Carolina Now and WUNC’s The State of Things.
Mike’s plays chronicle the lives of Emmett Till, Jackie Robinson, The Freedom Riders and more through one-man shows where he portrays 15-20 characters in a single performance.
In addition to his one man shows, Mike has written several plays for ensemble casts and also develops productions with other playwrights and musicians.
See Mike play every character in the story of Emmett Till and watch for a new film chronicling the brave and inspiring life of Henry “Box” Brown.
Not every story is long enough for a play, but many hold important lessons for us. The Parallel Lives podcasts tell the stories of William and Ellen Craft and Claudette Colvin as only Mike Wiley can.