ASHEVILLE, NC — As the opening title of its 2019-2020 season, North Carolina Stage Company is proud to present “The Fire of Freedom: The Story of Abraham Galloway,” a moving and historically accurate production adapted for the stage by Howard Craft and based on the book by Dr. David Cecelski.
Abraham Galloway was a fiery young slave rebel, radical abolitionist and Union spy who rose to become one of the most significant and stirring black leaders in the South during the Civil War. Throughout his brief, mercurial life, Galloway fought against slavery and injustice.
In this season-opening production, Galloway is portrayed by actor and playwright Mike Wiley, who brought his acclaimed production “Dar He: The Story of Emmett Till” to Asheville audiences in 2018. Wiley has spent the last decade fulfilling his mission to bring educational theatre to audiences and communities across the country, starting his own production company to bring emotional and impactful stories of African American history to the spotlight.
Galloway’s story is one that’s not often told, but his riveting life tale illuminates and deepens our insight into the Civil War and Reconstruction as experienced by African Americans in the South.
Born in 1837, Galloway escaped from slavery at age 20, traveling from his birthplace in North Carolina to Philadelphia. Four years after his escape, at the beginning of the Civil War, Galloway returned as a spy for the Union army — the chief intelligence agent encouraging slaves to join the war for freedom. In May 1864, Galloway met with Abraham Lincoln to advocate for African American suffrage — and, the next year, he had organized a state chapter and five local chapters of the National Equal Rights League. In 1868, Galloway ran for state senate, becoming one of three black senators to be elected to the North Carolina General Assembly. In 1870, at age 33, Galloway died unexpectedly of fever and jaundice. He had just been re-elected to the senate — and an estimated 6,000 mourners attended his funeral.
“The Fire of Freedom: The Story of Abraham Galloway” runs from Saturday, Sept. 21 to Sunday, Oct. 6, beginning at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and at 2 p.m. on Sundays, with additional matinee shows on Saturday, Sept. 28 and Saturday, Oct. 5. Each performance concludes with a post-show discussion with Wiley. Tickets are on sale now for $26-$40, depending on seating section, and special $10 tickets are available for students under 25 with a valid student ID. Tickets can be purchased online at ncstage.org or by calling 828-239-0263.
NC Stage Company also offers season passes — six shows for the price of five — for all of its 2019-2020 Mainstage Productions. Season passes are $205 and give pass-holders priority seating, free unlimited ticket exchanges, access to online seating reservations and special discount codes for all other happenings at NC Stage.
The North Carolina Stage Company is located at 15 Stage Lane in downtown Asheville and has been producing professional theatre in its 125-seat playhouse since 2001. It continues its commitment to artistic excellence, intellectual exploration and education during the 2019/2020 Season. For information on season passes, upcoming productions, educational