Photo by @aleecesophia
founder and Director emeritus
Playwright, director, designer and educator, Julian Wiles, founded Charleston Stage in 1978 and led the company for 45 seasons until his retirement in 2023.
Wiles grew up on a farm in Fort Motte, SC, and studied history and theatre at the College of Charleston (B.A. 1974). He moved to North Carolina to pursue graduate work in theatre design receiving an M.F.A. in Dramatic Art from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1976. He returned to Charleston and in 1978 founded Charleston Stage, the resident company of the Historic Dock Street Theatre, America’s first theatre. Under Wiles's leadership, Charleston Stage has become one of the region’s largest and most respected performing arts institutions, producing over 120 professional performances annually and including an extensive education program reaching over 25,000 young people each year.
During his 45 year tenure as Founder and Producing Artistic Director, Wiles designed, directed and produced over 300 plays and musicals for Charleston Stage. He has written 34 original plays, musicals, and stage adaptations, eight of which are published by The Dramatic Publishing Company. Many of his original works, such as The Seat of Justice, Gershwin at Folly, Beneath the Sweetgrass Moon, Denmark Vesey, Insurrection an
Wiles received the National Youth Theatre Director's Award in 1988, Charleston’s NAACP Special Recognition Award in 2004, The South Carolina Governor’s Award for the Arts in 2010, and was inducted into the SC Theatre Association’s Hall of Fame in 2018. In 2021, he was awarded the University of North Carolina’s Distinguished Alumnus Award.
For more information on his original works visit julianwiles.com.