DR. Wilkins (or “pastor Mike” as he is passionately called) is the creative force behind SPAA Theatre & S.T.A.T, (Spaa Theatre’s Actors Troupe), but he is thoroughly equipped with the knowledge and tools to run a successful business.
He was born in the Robert Taylor homes and raised on the southside of Chicago in the Roseland community. He attended Beethoven elementary, Van Vlissingen Middle School, and went to John Marshal Harlan H.S. until his southmore year, when his family moved to Park Forest, where he graduated from Rich Central and join the U.S.Army after High School.
Before he was honorably discharged from the military, he took advantage of the Veterans Educational Assistance Program and earned his Bachelors degree in Business and A Master’s degree, in accounting, before leaving the Army. He later earned two Ph.D.’s, (one in Theology & the other in Accounting). Dr. Wilkins is no stranger to successful business operations, he is the founder & CEO of SPAA (Speakers Publishers & Authors Association) USA, with 28 chapters around the U.S., a not for profit membership organization that helps its members become published authors and professional paid speakers.
He has been writing, producing and directing stage plays for over 19 years, he is now in his fourth year as the owner of the only Black owned Performing Arts facility in the Southern Suburbs of Chicago. Through SPAA Theatre, they put on about 10 shows a year. Dr. Wilkins was adamant about his venue being available for young and seasoned actors, producers and directors who needed a place to develop or showcase their talent. Consequently, SPAA theatre also offers acting classes, voice and a theatre boot-camp (designed to introduce participants to every aspect of the theatre, including; lighting, sound, acting, writing, producing, directing, set development, marketing and more). Dr. Wilkins’ vision has always been to serve the vastly underserved economically influential African-American markets, specifically south of Chicago.
SPAA Theatre does not have government funding or grants, although it is a not for profit (501 (C)(3) organization, currently they are supported solely by the communities they serve. While, SPAA Theatre is still relatively unknown, this is one of the challenges that Dr. Wilkins and his team are currently working on. The marketing efforts are continuous and they know first hand that their audiences are not that forgiving, so they are challenged to consistently provide the best professional quality shows available, at a reasonable cost,and they are exceeding those goals daily. The normal cost of a SPAA Theatre production is $25 per ticket, $149 for season tickets (at least 8 shows are included), 50% off concessions (for season pass holders), and there is always plenty of FREE parking, along with the best shows in town.
The primary mission of the SPAA Theatre & Performing Arts Center, is to invoke imagination, provoke the senses & stimulate emotions by provide quality stage plays, while introducing the performing arts to all of the communities they serve, specifically African-Americans.
Black Pages International salutes Craig Richardson for Building A Dynasty 2017-2032. SPAA Theatre & Performing Arts Center 371 Artists Walk (downtown Park Forest, next door to the Park Forest, Village Hall)
708-748-9470 • www.spaatheater.org