|WRAL-TV News Director Puts Grandmother’s Inspirational Life On The Stage
“Reach for the stars, but if you fall on the moon, you’re still on higher ground.”-Alma Jenkins
WRAL-TV’s Spencer Jenkins wrote “Burdens To Bear” to share the inpiration his grandmother, Alma Jenkins, has been to him.
WRAL-TV’s Spencer Jenkins not only directs WRAL-TV’s morning newscasts, he’s directing for the stage as well. Jenkins wrote a play several years ago and is bringing it to the stage for the fourth time in Smithfield. The subject is one dear to his heart, his grandmother.
Jenkins wrote “Burdens to Bear” about his grandmother, Alma Jenkins, who is now 85 years old. He said, “As a kid I used to hear her tell the story and I always told her, ‘When I grow up I’m going to write a movie about you.’ And she’d say,’You let me know & I’ll play my part.'”
Through a musical workshop at his church, Jenkins brought out a copy of the play he’d written in college. He reworked and added the music from the workshop, and the group put the production on for the first time in 1999. They performed again in 2000, and because of the success of the show, are bringing it back to the stage in 2002.
“Burdens to Bear” is not a life story, but, as Jenkins explained, “It’s the inspirational part that she went through and we hope will inspire people to hold their head up and keep their faith and believe and they’ll make it through.”
In 1957, Alma Jenkins’ husband fell off the back of the garbage truck on which he worked and was killed. She was left with seven children to raise alone. She cleaned houses and worked hard to send six of the seven to college. All seven have become successful. Jenkins went on to be named North Carolina’s Mother of the Year in 1985.
When asked about her reaction to the play, Spencer Jenkins said, “She absolutely loves it. She comes to it every time I do it. I use a lot of her quotes in the play that she always says, and in the audience you’ll hear her say, ‘That’s right child.'”
“Burdens to Bear” will be performed in Smithfield at the Paul A. Johnston Auditorium at Johnston Community College this Saturday, March 9, at 7:30pm. Tickets are $12, and all proceeds benefit the Jenkins’ church, Howell’s Chapel, in Selma. For advanced ticket sales, call Good Books Christian Bookstore in Selma at (919) 202-9800.