Wesley Young

Professor, Performance Faculty
Head, Performance Studies


Office: 248 Porterfield Hall
Phone: 540-831-5484
Fax: 540-831-6313

Wesley Young is a teacher, director, and actor, who has called Radford University his artistic home since 2000.  In the Department of Theatre and Cinema, he teaches directing, acting, voice, heads up the performance program and mentors aspiring theatre artists. Among the shows he has directed at Radford: Oklahoma!, The Importance of Being Earnest, Anything Goes, The Way It Has to Be (World Premiere),The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Spinning Into Butter, God of Carnage, The Speed of Darkness, Baby, Medea, Pippin, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, featuring Sally Struthers and colleague Chuck Hayes, Fifth of July (also with Ms. Struthers), The Lion in Winter with Bridget Hanley, and the still-talked-about The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas starring Broadway veteran Susann Fletcher-Smith. Young has appeared on the RU stage himself playing Mark Rothko in Red, Andrew Undershaft in Major Barbara, Poppy, et al, in The Voice of the Prairie, and his all-time favorite role, that of Irish wit and dramatist Oscar Wilde in Diversions and Delights, which he also produced and directed. He has been seen several times over the years in Radford University Ballet Theatre's The Nutcracker as Herr Drosselmeyer. Locally, Wesley has acted at Mill Mountain Theatre in Big River and Into the Woods and continues, when possible, to portray Oscar Wilde. Over the years, he has worked extensively with Radford University’s music and dance programs as well as the School of Nursing and Department of Criminal Justice-- coaching students, staging simulations, directing RU’s musical theatre productions, working with student choreographers, conductors and musical directors and even collaborating on original music. As a particular point of pride, Wesley won a SunTrust Mentor Award for his work with student director Melissa Rayford, herself a recipient of a SunTrust Scholarship for her direction of Rabbit Hole. He was he was selected for, and participated in, the Kennedy Center’s Directing Intensive in the summer of 2014.

Wesley is the producing artistic director of the Porterfield Ensemble, a touring unit of the Department of Theatre, which travels to high schools, middle schools and community arts venues throughout Southwest Virginia and beyond. For the ensemble, he wrote Poe:Dark Genius, Troubled Life, a biographical tone poem about the famed American author. He is also the co-author, along with Kathleen Harvey Harshberger, of Walk to Freedom: the Mary Draper Ingles Story.

For the university’s New Student Programs’ Quest Wesley directed the featured plays RU Talking and Scenes from a Freshman Year in 2014 and 2012, respectively. Professional directing credits include Cock for Richmond Virginia’s TheatreLAB, Sylvia, Rounding Third and Barefoot in the Park for Kentucky Repertory Theatre, Driving Miss Daisy at Mill Mountain Theatre, The Nerd, St. Croix Festival Theatre and The Diary of Anne Frank, Wohlfahrt Haus Dinner Theatre, among others.

Wesley has served as voice, text and dialect coach on several productions for Radford University Theatre and elsewhere including a national tour of Rent. He was a guest respondent for the Summer Musical Theatre Conservatory at UCLA taught by renowned musical theatre and television performer Karen Morrow and has been a guest panelist at The Barter Theatre's Appalachian Festival of Plays and Playwrights. He was Virginia State Auditions Coordinator for Southeastern Theatre Conference for four years.

He is a founding member of Public Theatre of Kentucky, in his hometown of Bowling Green, Kentucky. As an actor, he has appeared on stages from the Northeast to California – The MacHaydn Theatre, Horse Cave Theatre (Kentucky Repertory Theatre), Tennessee Stage Company, Smoky Mountain Shakespeare, and Nebraska Theatre Caravan, and other stops along the way. He is especially proud of having played Prior Walter in the Alabama premiere of Angels in America.

Wesley is a Past President of Virginia Theatre Association, a member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, The Kennedy Center Directors Lab, Southeastern Theatre Conference, and Theatre Communications Group. He serves on the university Faculty Grievance Committee. For the Department of Theatre and Cinema he is liaison to McConnell Library and publicity representative. He is the advisor to the Yes & Improv Club. Young holds an MFA in Acting from The University of Alabama and a BA in Theatre from Western Kentucky University.

Wesley is very grateful to his mother, Brenda Lee, for indulging his creativity from an early age and, to many great teachers/mentors – Mrs. Virginia Massey, Edmond Williams, Jocosa Wade, Lisa Paulsen, Patricia Minton Taylor, Jonathan Michaelsen and Bill Leonard, to name a few.  He is eternally grateful to Bill Teague for putting him together with Radford and to his colleagues in the Department of Theatre for their continued support of him as a colleague, artist and friend.