By Mike Wiley
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Henry “Box” Brown was an African American born into slavery in 1816 in Louisa County, Virginia. Although he was not subjected to physical violence, Henry’s story (the basis for One Noble Journey) demonstrates the cruelty of slavery was every bit as devastating to the heart as it could be on the body. After his family was torn apart and parceled out to various beneficiaries of the estate, Henry devised an ingenious escape plan – sealing himself in a wooden box for shipment to friends and freedom in Philadelphia.
One Noble Journey also recounts the daring and miraculous quest for freedom of Elizabeth Craft and her husband William, who were born into slavery in Georgia. Ellen Craft, who was very light skinned, disguised herself as a sickly, white gentleman traveling to Philadelphia for medical treatment. Ellen and William, who acted as her slave throughout the journey, bravely traveled on public trains and steamers as they made their way up the eastern seaboard to Philadelphia.
Join NC Stage as we welcome award-winning North Carolina based actor and playwright Mike Wiley back to Asheville for this powerful and enlightening performance.
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About playwright and actor Mike Wiley
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’s North Carolina Now and WUNC’s The State of Things.
Photos of Mike in Action
Photos from Blood Done Sign My Name, One Noble Journey, Brown vs. The Board of Education, and Jackie Robinson by Chris Charles and Lisa Gotwals and courtesy of mikewileyproductions.com
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