Leaving Eden

By Mike Wiley Directed by Vivienne Benesch

A North Carolina fable

Music & lyrics by Laurelyn Dossett

Acclaimed playwright Mike Wiley returns to PlayMakers with singer-songwriter Laurelyn Dossett to lead us on a musical journey across time, unearthing the cycles of history in a small North Carolina town. In this searing new work, where cotton is king in the 1930s and pork processing keeps the town alive in 2016, black and Latino citizens are the town's economic backbone past and present. So why do they remain its most vulnerable to violence and hatred? As high-stakes elections loom during both time periods, the young, as ever, have a lot to fight for—and a lot to learn.


Due to the subject matter, racially-motivated violence, and the use of some racial slurs, we recommend this show for ages 13 and up.

Please be advised, this production contains live, simulated gunshots; water-based haze and fog; and the smoking of both vapor and herbal cigarettes on stage.

Run Time

2 hours and 30 minutes, including one 15-minute intermission.

Special Thanks to UNC-TV for this beautiful behind-the-scenes look at the creation of Leaving Eden

“[Wiley’s] shows are sophisticated blends of narrative and wit.”

American Theatre

“You will find hardly anyone who has the muse sitting with them more than Laurelyn.”

Joe Newberry, NC Dept of Cultural Resources

Many thanks to our co-producers:

This project is supported in part by an award from the Nation Endowment for the Arts. This project was also supported by the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.