Gourd Vine Stories





A play By April C. Turner

            Elementary, My Dear deconstructs the caricature images of the Teacher currently archetyped into society – Teacher as sacrificing saint, teacher as underachiever, teacher as all knowing and teacher as dreamgiver/dreamkiller. Elementary, My Dear is fashioned from interviews with K-12 teachers in various sections of the country. The product is a play that offers a multi-dimensional perspective of the people with whom we entrust our children every day, while commenting on major life relationships affecting the Teacher.

This project puts flesh and blood on the “Teacher” image, by collecting and telling their stories. Understanding the teacher as a person is a major step toward understanding how to make what happens in the classroom productive and life-affirming for both teacher and student.

Consider presenting Elementary, My Dear in conjunction with the workshops- Inspiring Hard to Reach Students to Learn: 10 Steps to a New Beginning and How to Intentionally Build Community Using the Cultural Arts.



ZORA NEALE HURSTON, renown writer and anthropologist, created and collected folklore throughout her native northeast Florida home, as well as Louisiana and various parts of the Caribbean. Though she is best known as a leader of the Harlem Renaissance, she spent much of her career studying the dances and oral traditions of cultures in Haiti, Jamaica, Barbados and Cuba. Dancing Zora is a celebration of Zora’s groundbreaking exploration of these cultures that would become so integral to the south’s social fabric. April C. Turner interprets Zora’s collected stories, songs, proverbs and dances in this lively yet poignant presentation. While Dancing Zora celebrates the life and legacy of Zora Neale Hurston, this fun, interactive performance also showcases the beauty of some of the traditional cultures that make up the modern family of communities in the southeast.


April C. Turner, lives and works in Charlotte, NC as a film/tv actress. She has had roles in made for television movies such as Eyeborgs (SyFy Channel) and the independent film adaption of Truman Capote’s Other Voices, Other Rooms. She has also had roles in Unanswered Prayers (Lifetime), Trinity Goodheart (gmc TV), Army Wives (Lifetime), Ditch Digger’s Daughters (Family Channel) and Revolution (NBC). A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Turner tours theatre productions, concerts and residencies to academic communities throughout the country –using performances as a tool to facilitate constructive conversation about social concerns and building community with the arts.



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