Carlton Turner

Carlton Turner in the cotton patchCarlton Turner is co-founder and co-artistic director, along with his brother Maurice Turner, of the group M.U.G.A.B.E.E. (Men Under Guidance Acting Before Early Extinction) ( M.U.G.A.B.E.E. is a performing arts group that blends of jazz, hip-hop, spoken word poetry and soul music together with non-traditional storytelling.

Carlton is also the Executive Director of Alternate ROOTS, a regional non-profit arts organization based in the south. Carlton has been a member of Alternate ROOTS since 2001 and has served on the organizations board as a Regional Representative, and as officer. Alternate ROOTS hired Carlton in 2004 as the Regional Development Director. He held this position for 4 years before transitioning into the role of Executive Director.

Carlton is a published writer of poems, plays, essays, and editorials. His work has appeared in literary journals Black Magnolias, Bridge Conversations, Up from the ROOTS Journal, and many others. He has co-written two plays Steal Away and Batteries in the Killing Machine, which premiered at the National Black Theater Festival in 2005. Carlton was the production manager of UPROOTED: The Katrina Project and lead producer of ROOTS Fest 2011. Carlton has recorded two albums with his brother as the group M.U.G.A.B.E.E., Earth Tones (2002) and World Domination (2006). He is currently collaborating with Mondo Bizarro on a multi-year dialogue on the debilitating effects of racism called Race Peace (

Carlton is currently on the board of Appalshop (, an advisory member to the National Theater Project at NEFA, a member of the Free Southern Theater Institute’s planning board named the Phoenix Squad, a member of the We Shall Overcome Fund Advisory Board at the Highlander Center for Research and Education (, a steering committee member of the Arts and Culture Social Justice Network, an alumnus of the Advance Leadership Preparation Initiative of the Southern Empowerment Project, and former Network of Ensemble Theaters board member. Carlton has served on panels for Theater Communications Group, Arts Presenters/MetLife Awards, the National Endowment for the Arts, Mississippi Arts Commission, New England Foundation for the Arts, and Alternate ROOTS. Carlton is currently participating in the Chief Executive Officer Program facilitated by National Arts Strategies, a two-year professional development program for 100 non-profit executives. In 2011 Carlton was awarded the M. Edgar Rosenblum award for outstanding contribution to Ensemble Theater by Irondale Ensemble Project.

Carlton Turner currently lives in Utica, Mississippi with his wife Brandi and two children Jonathan and Xiauna Lin.

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