About Wayne Harris

“…so, for the most part, I am a storyteller. In the end, when all is said and done, all of us who do the work of artists…solo performers, actors, writers, comedians dancers and painters…if we are doing it right, first and foremost, we  tell stories. I am a storyteller.”                                                      

Wayne Harris is an award winning solo performer, writer, educator, curriculum innovator and musician. A gifted artist with wide ranging interests, he has accumulated an impressive body of work over the years that includes 5 full length solo plays, performances for schools, directing and designing for pageantry groups as well as various musical projects.

Born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, Harris’ work has often centered on his childhood, as in his first play “Mother’s Milk” which ran in San Francisco for 14 weeks and won awards in Canada at the Vancouver International Fringe Festival. A powerful piece that combined an homage to his mother, and a nuanced picture of St. Louis during the early days of the civil rights movement.

In “Train Stories”, he turned to fiction, drawing a portrait of the south and the struggle of African-Americans railroad workers post WWII. This play met critical acclaim and had a very successful run at The Marsh Theatre in San Francisco, one of the nation’s premier venues for solo performance.
His third play “The May Day Parade” saw a return to his autobiographical writing and included a textured story about his first love: drum and bugle corps, as well as his childhood battle with polio and a vibrant rendering of a St. Louis African-American institution, the May Day Parade.
In the Spring of 2011 and again in 2013, Wayne will have the honor of performing “The May Day Parade” at the Missouri History Museum in St. Louis, Missouri. A chance to bring his work home.
In 2012, Wayne went in an all new direction, creating “Tyrone “Shortleg” Johnson and Some White Boys” a hybrid solo performance that featured a 6 piece blues band. The play won the 2012 San Francisco International Fringe Festival “Best Of Fringe” award and was widely acclaimed by reviewers and audiences alike.

Invited by the US State Department to present a piece commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “Letter From A Birmingham Jail” , Wayne travelled to the Middle East to perform “The Letter; Martin Luther King at the Crossroads” to Palestinian students, storytellers and children’s reading advocates in such places as Jerusalem, Jericho, Ramallah and a special performance for Consul General Michael Ratney and his guests at the Consulate General of Jerusalem.
During all of this, Wayne Harris has been involved with some of the country’s best pageantry groups. He has taught and directed World Champion color guards, worked with many world class drum and bugle corps and band programs throughout the nation, adjudicates pageantry events and currently offers performance workshops to all types of youth performing groups. Wayne is currently the performance coach for the Santa Clara Vanguard Drum & Bugle Corps as well as Teaching Artist In Residence at two elementary schools in Oakland, Ca.

Wayne’s new website,  www.waynethestoryteller.com , marks the beginning of an ambitious venture into performances for schools as Harris takes the story and legend of “John Henry…the steel driving man!” to educational institutions all over the San Francisco Bay Area. Performing traditional and new tales of America’s most famous African-American mythological character, Wayne, with the help and assistance of bay area educators has developed a standards based curriculum and performance that explores the power of myth and storytelling.

Wayne Harris, is a two time recipient of a “Marsh Theatre Performance Initiative” grant. This is an opportunity to create and direct new works for performance and hopefully embark on a whole new direction in performance, teaching and creating…..the work goes on.