African Community Theatre presents spring production of "Venus" March 16-19, 2017

African Community Theatre March 16-19, 2017

The African Community Theatre (ACT) in the Department of Pan-African Studies (DPAS) announces the spring 2017 production of  Venus by Suzan Lori-Parks directed by D. Amy-Rose Forbes-Erickson, Ph.D., assistant professor of Pan-African Studies, performed by the Pan-African Theatre Ensemble (PATE).

Opening night of the production is Thursday, March 16, 2017 at 8 p.m. The show will run March 16-18, 2017 starting at 8 p.m. Sunday, March 19, 2017 will close the run of the play with a matinee only starting at 2 p.m. Kent State Students will be admitted for free with a valid KSU FlashCard ID. General admission is $10. Pre-sale tickets are available in room 127 Oscar Ritchie Hall main office between 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Doors open an hour before the show. Tickets can be purchased prior to show times at the African Community Theatre ticket booth. Beginning February 1, 2017 you can purchase presale tickets online at  

Venus by Suzan-Lori Parks, 53, 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.

Established in the fall 2016 by D. Amy-Rose Forbes-Erickson, the Pan-African Theatre Ensemble is a non-profit, repertory theatre developed for ongoing research in Pan-African theatre and performance in the DPAS at Kent State University. The primary mission of the Pan-African Theatre Ensemble is to promote black theatre in the United States and around the world. Its goal is to produce engaging, inspiring, experimental, and eclectic theatre and performance styles from the Pan-African world, including the continent of Africa, the United States, the Caribbean, Latin America, and Europe. The ensemble welcomes community participation regardless of gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, disability and others in all areas of theatre.

Forbes-Erickson joined DPAS in August 2016 as an assistant professor and theatre director. Her expertise is in Pan-African theatre including African American, Caribbean, and African theatres and performances. She received a Ph.D. in Theatre: Performance as Public Practice with a Doctoral Portfolio in African and African American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. She has worked across various disciplines in the visual arts and theatre practice and has directed, exhibited and designed for theatre.

To learn more about the Pan-African Theatre Ensemble, visit

To learn more about the African Community Theatre or purchase tickets, visit

For media contact D. Amy Rose Forbes Erickson, Ph.D. email: or 330-672-0082






POSTED: Thursday, February 9, 2017 - 9:22am
UPDATED: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 - 10:47am