Mike Wiley is a North Carolina-based actor, playwright, and director of multiple works in documentary theatre. His dramas relay the stories of fugitive slaves, civil rights game-changers, sports heroes and freedom fighters. Dynamic multi-character portrayals offer penetrating views into parallel lives whose roles within African American history have shaped a richer total American experience. Wiley’s remarkable one-man “cast” sometimes introduces dozens of characters over the course of a single play. Morphing from young to old, man to woman, African American to white, his gripping stories enlighten and inspire audiences of every age to apply history’s lessons to events and situations in the present.
Mike Wiley’s theatrical repertoire includes: The Parchman Hour, Downrange: Stories from the Homefront; Dar HE: The Story of Emmett Till, One Noble Journey: A Box Marked Freedom, Jackie Robinson: A Game Apart, Breach of Peace, The Fire of Freedom, and the theatrical adaptation of Blood Done Sign my Name. In the gripping independent film adaptation of his play Dar He, Wiley himself portrays more than 30 characters in a tour-de-force performance that garnered major film and acting awards at numerous film festivals across North America, Europe and Australia—including “Best Actor” at the Harlem International Film Festival.
Wiley has dedicated fifteen years to documentary theatre for young audiences. He has been featured in News and Observer’s “Tar Heel of the Week,” Our State magazine, UNC-TV’s “North Carolina Now,” and North Carolina Public Radio’s “The State of Things.” He was named the 2012 Indie Artist of the Year by the Independent Weekly. His extended educational residencies have been funded through grant programs of the North Carolina Arts Council, and his plays have been selected for spotlight showcases at major industry conferences, including Arts Northwest, Performing Arts Exchange, Arts Midwest and ArtsMarket. Wiley completed a 20+-performance tour of One Noble Journey in Ontario, Canada in 2014.
An Upward Bound alum and Trio Achiever Award recipient, Wiley is an M.F.A. graduate and Distinguished Alumnus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a former Lehman-Brady Visiting Joint Chair Professor at Duke University’s Center for Documentary Studies. Wiley’s overriding goal is to expand cultural awareness for audiences of all ages through dynamic portrayals based on pivotal moments in African-American history and, in doing so, to help unveil a richer picture of the total American experience.
[Adapted from materials submitted by the honoree’s agent at Mike Wiley Productions]