Laura Turner

Associate Professor

Address: Room 303, Cato Center for the Arts

Laura Manning Turner received her B.F.A. in Dramatic Writing and an M.F.A. in composition for Music Theater concurrently from New York University. Since 1994 she has been Associate Professor of Theatre at the College of Charleston where she began the Theatre for Youth program and the M.A.T. in the Performing Arts Program which prepares theatre and music teachers for the K12 school setting. She also teaches musical theatre coursework in the department.  


Professor Turner has helped create many service learning projects that allow her students to gain practical experience in the community. She began a program for special needs theatre in 2008 with the City of Charleston Therapeutic Recreational Services. This program was a top ten national finalist for the Robert Gard Arts in the Community Award; winner of the state Commision for Higher Education Community Service Award; and won the state award for Excellence in Parks and  Recreation Programming.


Professor Turner also helped create the “We The People Summer Experience” which brought together middle and high school students from the North and the South to build bridges across racial divides using immersive history and theatre experiences. College of Charleston theatre education undergraduate and graduate students helped lead the experiences which took place in New York City and Charleston, SC.


Professor Turner also helped create the Musical Theatre Center which is an after school training program for K12 students in acting, singing and dancing.  As director or music director she has mounted over 30 productions with her college students assisting in all aspects of the center’s productions. Under her direction the senior performance troupe has won the top Outstanding Performance Award along with the Excellence in Acting and Excellence in Dance awards at the National Junior Theatre Festival.

She is a playwright and composer of many musicals for family audiences collaborating with her husband. Some of their original works include: MarsQuest, awarded grants by N.A.S.A.; The Redcoats and Glow: The Story of Marie Curie, commissioned by The Charleston Museum; The Wizard of Wartville, sponsored by Keep America Beautiful; and WorldSong, which won a national playwriting competition and toured the Midwest. In addition, her musical, Finding Joy, was published by Eldridge Publishing Company with performances in churches nationally each year. Her musical score for A Boy and His Piano was published by Dramatic Publishing Company after premiering with Charleston Stage Company. She also was a finalist for the national Aurand Harris Playwriting Fellowship sponsored by the Children’s Theatre Foundation of America.

Before coming to the College of Charleston Professor Turner taught at the University of Northern Iowa as well as the Russian Pedagogical University in St. Petersburg, Russia where she lectured on American Theatre.


B.F.A. New York University

M.F.A. New York University