Ira David Wood III is the founder and Executive Director of Raleigh’s Theatre In The Park. A graduate of The University NC School of the Arts, he was raised in Enfield, NC and became his hometown’s first Eagle Scout. Summers during his college years (1968 – 1971) were spent as a leading actor inThe Lost Colony — two years as Sir Walter Raleigh and two years as Old Tom. While there, David also premiered his very first original play, Um Dilly. (William Ivey Long was his costumer and set designer!) Upon graduation, he became the first Theatre Arts Consultant for the N.C. Department of Public Instruction. A year later, he became Director of The Children’s Theatre of Raleigh and immediately set about the task of broadening the organization’s scope. During this process, the organization established a home in Raleigh’s Pullen Park Armory, changed its name to Theatre In The Park, and quickly become the largest community theatre in North Carolina.
He wrote and directed the Opening Ceremonies for the Summer Olympic Festival – the largest single event ever held in North Carolina. He directed the premiere production of the outdoor drama First For Freedom in Halifax, NC. His original production, A Capitol Idea, was the highlight of Raleigh’s Bicentennial celebration. Four of his original productions have aired on WRAL-TV. Two of his original plays (Eros & Illinois and Requiem For a King) have had extended runs Off-Broadway. His script, Requiem For a King, has been optioned by Motown Productions.He has often been credited with raising the bar of theatrical excellence in the Triangle area, as well as initiating dynamic outreach programming now adopted by many other theatre organizations. When Raleigh’s Memorial Auditorium sat largely unused and undervalued, David produced the first series of theatrical productions on its stage, beginning a process of rediscovery and expansion which eventually resulted in the renovation and expansion that has resulted in the current Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts. In honor of his many achievements, Raleigh’s City Council voted unanimously to rename his theatre’s facility “The Ira David Wood III Pullen Park Theatre.” In September of 2010, he was inducted into the Raleigh Hall of Fame.
For North Carolina Theatre, David’s starring roles include Man Of La Mancha (Don Quixote), Peter Pan (Captain Hook), La Cage aux Folles (Georges), Oliver (Fagin), The Wizard of Oz (Wicked Witch of the West), The Full Monty (Harold), Grease (Mrs. Lynch), and The Sound Of Music (Captain Von Trapp).
A partial list of honors include: The Order of the Long Leaf Pine (State of NC), The Halifax Resolves Award (Halifax County Historical Association), The Morrison Award (Roanoke Island Historical Association), Distinguished Alumni Award (UNCSA), & the Builder of Bridges Award (Babcock Center Foundation). He has been presented three keys to The City of Raleigh and honorary citizenship awards from Columbia, SC and Compiegne, France.
Consistently voted Best Local Actor in decades of public opinion polls, David has also managed to accumulate impressive film and television credits, having appeared on screen with such stars as Christopher Walken, Natalie Wood, Neil Patrick Harris, Cliff Robertson, Matthew Modine, James Earl Jones, Burt Reynolds and Louise Fletcher.
Though his list of acclaimed theatre roles is unrivaled in our area, David is probably best known and loved for annually portraying the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge in his own musical adaptation of A Christmas Carol, which celebrates its 38th year of consecutive production this December. With three international tours to its credit, and having played to over one million people, the production is now cited as “… one of the most successful shows in North Carolina theater history.”
David is the author of A Lover’s Guide To The Outer Banks and the recently released Confessions Of An Elf. He is also a contributing author to Murder In Dealey Plaza: What We Know Now That We Didn’t Know Then. An award-winning playwright, David’s additional stage works continue to be produced throughout the United States. (Most recently, his musical Briarpatch enjoyed a very successful run last year at the renowned Casa Manana theatre in Ft. Worth, Texas.)
The proud father of two talented young adults: Evan Rachel Wood and Ira David Wood IV. David and his wife, Ashley, also celebrated the birth of a new baby boy this past July.
David considers Manteo his second “home,” and is deeply honored to be rejoining The Lost Colony this summer.