African Community Theater

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The African Community Theatre (ACT), located in Ritchie Hall, increases exposure to and knowledge of the theatre heritage of African-Americans for students and local community residents of all ages. The program encourages area residents and students to participate in its theatrical productions. Students enhance communication skills and gain awareness and appreciation of the African-American heritage as depicted through theatre.

The nucleus groups for the African Community Theatre are the Mbárí Mbáyò Players and the African Theatre Arts Workshop. The Mbárí Mbáyò Players are in training for acting on stage, the African Theatre Arts Workshop serves to train students and community residents in various aspects of theatre. The goal of the African Community Theatre is to extend the knowledge of African creativity presented through theatre. The theatre is open to the participation of senior citizens, younger adults, and college and public school students. If interested in poetry, costuming, acting or directing, the theatre would appreciate your participation.

Pan-African Theatre Ensemble

Inspire - Community – Research – Performance

“A people without knowledge of their history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.”

 Marcus Garvey

Explore the Pan-African Theatre Ensemble

2016-2017 African Community Theatre Schedule  
PUrchase Tickets

Pan-African Theatre Ensemble (P. A. T. E.) Season – 2016-2017

Artistic Director and Theatre Curator: D. Amy-Rose Forbes-Erickson, PhD.

Semester II – Spring 2017

Main Stage Production

Venus (1996) by Susan-Lori Parks (African American)

Directed by D. Amy Rose Forbes-Erickson, Ph.D. Performed by Pan-African Theatre Ensemble
Produced by special arrangement with Creative Artists Agency, New York, N.Y.
Opening Thursday, March 16, 2017 – Saturday, March 18, 2017 – 8pm Doors open at 7 pm
Talkback on Saturday, March 18, 2017 after the show 
Sunday, March19, 2017 – 2pm MATINEE ONLY


Venus by Suzan-Lori Parks (1996) (U.S.A.)

Venus by Suzan-Lori Parks (b. 1963) recalls the true and historic account of Saartjie “Sarah” Baartman (1790-1815) who was kidnapped from her Khoikhoi people in South Africa in 1810 and paraded in freak shows in London and Paris. Baartman, dubbed “The Hottentot Venus,” was forced to publicly display her genitalia and buttocks, considered “abnormal” by European standards in the early nineteenth century. With a satiric and witty Brechtian style, Parks peels away the layers of ironies, tragedy, agency, and access to Baartman’s body in freak shows and medical experiments. Through visual metaphors for fetish and voyeurism, this production of Venus explores Baartman’s objectification and the perils of historic and contemporary spectacles by black women in popular culture. 

Suzan-Lori Parks is one of the most acclaimed African American playwrights and novelists. She has received numerous prestigious awards, and is the first African American woman recipient of the Pulitzer Prize and the MacArthur Genius Award.


Semester I – Fall 2016

Main Stage Production


The Bacchae of Euripides: A Communion Rite (1957) by Wole Soyinka (Nigerian) – based on the Ancient Greek play The Bacchae by Euripides – A Devised Production

Theatre Auditions: Monday, September 12 and Tuesday, September 13- at 5:30pm
Seeking: Male/Female dancers, actors, drummers, singers
Preparation: Instructions will be given at audition

First day of Rehearsals: Thursday September 15 from 5:30- 8:15 –African Community Theatre, Oscar Ritchie Hall
Rehearsal Schedule: Tuesdays and Thursdays 5:30-8:15 – African Community Theatre
Technical Rehearsals – Saturday, November 12, Sunday, November 13, Monday, November14, Tuesday, November 15, Wednesday, November 16

Run – Opening Night: Thursday, November 17, Friday, November 18, Saturday, November19, Sunday, November 20.

The Bacchae of Euripides: A Communion Rite by Wole Soyinka (1957) (Nigeria)

Wole Soyinka’s The Bacchae of Euripides: A Communion Rite is an adaptation of Euripides’s The Bacchae which is about Dionysus, god of wine and theatre, who travels to Thebes seeking revenge on his mortal family for not recognizing his divinity. The plot unfolds with Dionysus tricking Pentheus, driving the women into a frenzied worship, and leading them to the ultimate sacrifice. Soyinka’s The Bacchae of Euripides reworks Euripides’s play as an allegory on the Nigerian civil unrest in the 1950s, and more broadly on Pan-African issues of racial injustice, gender and sexuality. Soyinka’s play is fused with Yoruba religion, including the use of the Idanre, a Passion poem for Ogun, god of iron. Soyinka includes Dionysus in Yoruba Pantheon as Ogun’s younger brother drawing parallels in Ancient Greek and Yoruba traditions.  This devised production combines African oral tradition, ritual, music, dance, poetry and spectacle, and considers the consequences of denial and sacrifice for contemporary audiences.

Wole Soyinka (b. 1934) is one of the most celebrated and acclaimed Nigerian playwrights and poets. He is the recipient of numerous awards, and is the first African writer to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986.

Short Play – Memorized or Dramatic Reading
Tahinta!A Rhythm Play for Children by Efua Sutherland (Ghanaian)

Devised Production with spoken word, music, movement
Auditions: Wednesday, November 2
Seeking: Male/Female dancers, actors, drummers, singers
Preparation: Instructions will be given at audition
First day of Rehearsals: Monday, November 7
Technical Rehearsals – Saturday, December 3 to Wednesday, December, 7 (Dress Rehearsal)

One-Show, Opening, Friday December 9 – 7pm

Tahinta!: A Rhythm Play for Children by Efua Sutherland (1968) (Ghana)

Tahinta!: A Rhythm Play for Children by Efua Sutherland (1924-1996) is a rhythm play in the Akan storytelling and oral tradition. Sutherland uses call and response performance style, set to percussive beats, and performed for the young and young at heart. The rhythm play is related to African Diaspora communal performances in children’s games, and in African American and Caribbean popular and folk cultures. This production of Tahinta! experiments with West African performance modes of storytelling, music, dance, and visual spectacle.

Efua Sutherland is a renowned Ghanaian playwright, director and children’s author. She is a Pan-African cultural activist and founder of the biennial Pan-African Historical Theatre Festival (PANAFEST) in Ghana.

Kent State University
African Community Theater
Oscar Ritchie Hall
Room 230
225 Terrace Drive
Kent, OH 44242