Digital Masks to Africa – Cheikh Anta Diop: Poem for the Living

Pan-African Theatre Ensemble to premiere

The Pan-African Theatre Ensemble will perform a newly devised play, “Digital Masks to Africa – Cheikh Anta Diop: Poem for the Living,” based on Professor Mwatabu Okantah’s epic poem, pre-show on Wednesday, March 6, 2019 at 7pm, and opening on Thursday, March 7, 2019 at 7pm in the African Community Theatre.


“Digital Masks to Africa – Cheikh Anta Diop: Poem for the Living” is a dramatic interpretation of Professor Okantah’s epic poem Cheikh Anta Diop: Poem for the Living using digital media, live performance and a multilingual cast to embody the spiritual and philosophical journey to Africa. This devised piece explores Okantah’s autoethnography and shared African diasporic experiences of dislocation, language, culture and identity from the Maafa (African Holocaust) to the repatriation to Africa.



Mwatabu S. Okantah holds the BA in English and African Studies from Kent State University (1976) and the MA in Creative Writing from the City College of New York (1982).   He is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pan-African Studies at Kent State University and serves as Director of the Ghana Study Abroad Program.


Okantah is the author of Afreeka Brass (1983), Collage (1984), Legacy: for Martin & Malcolm (1987), Cheikh Anta Diop: Poem for the Living—published as a limited trilingual edition in English, French and Wolof (1997/2017), Reconnecting Memories: Dreams No Longer Deferred (2004) and Muntu Kuntu Energy: New and Selected Poetry (2013). A new collection, Guerrilla Dread: Poetry for the Heart and Mind, is forthcoming from Africa World Press in 2019. He has performed as Griot for the Iroko African Drum & Dance Society, and in ongoing collaborations, “Collage: Music and Poetry,” with the Cavani String Quartet and with Vince Robinson and the Jazz Poets. For more information, visit



D. Amy-Rose Forbes-Erickson is a theatre director and Assistant Professor of Pan-African Studies.

Dr. Forbes-Erickson is the Director of the African Community Theatre, and the founder and artistic director of the Pan-African Theatre Ensemble. Selected directing credits include Dennis Scott’s An Echo in the Bone, Wole Soyinka’s The Bacchae of Euripides: A Communion Rite, and Suzan-Lori Parks’s Venus.



“Digital Masks to Africa – Cheikh Anta Diop: Poem for the Living” –

Epic Poem by Professor Mwatabu Okantah, Department of Pan-African Studies, Kent State University.


Devised/Directed by:

Dr. D. Amy-Rose Forbes-Erickson


Original Musical Scores by:

Vince Robinson and Ismail Douglass


Featuring P.A.T.E. Actors:

Special guest: Dr. Lundeana Thomas, Emerita Professor of the African American Theatre Program, University of Louisville, Kentucky

Sri Varshani Rajhugie

Yayra Tamakloe

Madison Ledyard-King

Mike Esekwen

Huda Alhamed


Voiceovers by

Julia Stephens (German)

Huda Alhamed (Arabic)

Sri Varshani Raghujie (Hindi)

Adji Salimata Gueye (Wolof & French)

Richard Agbeze (Fante)

Fehintolu Adebanjo (Yoruba)

Mike Esekwen (Lingala)

Yayra Tamakloe (Twi)



Pre-Show: for KSU students, staff, faculty on Wednesday, March 6 at 7pm

Opening: Thursday, March 7 at 7pm



The African Community Theatre,

Room 230, Oscar Ritchie Hall

225 Terrace Drive

Kent, OH 44242

Tel: (330) 672-2100


Box Office Info


$10: Buy tickets here


Entrance is free to students, faculty and staff. Reserve free tickets online with KSU username and password:


Group reservations are by special arrangements and on a first-come, first-served basis. Please contact Dr. Forbes-Erickson at or (330) 672-0082


Special Events

Post-Show Discussion on Thursday, March 7 after 7pm show


GoFundMe page in support of the Pan-African Theatre Ensemble’s performance at the Fringe Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland in August 2019.


About The Pan-African Theatre Ensemble (P.A.T.E.)

The Pan-African Theatre Ensemble is an African-aesthetic theatre company using text-based and devised theatre from the canon of global Black plays, including African, African American, Latin American and Caribbean theatres. P.A.T.E. members are volunteers from Kent State University students, staff, and community volunteers from Northeast Ohio. P.A.T.E is actively recruiting volunteer actors for its community outreach and theatre in Northeast Ohio. No prior experience required. For membership info, please contact Dr. Forbes-Erickson for an audition and interview at or (330) 672-0082.



POSTED: Monday, March 4, 2019 - 4:48pm
UPDATED: Monday, March 4, 2019 - 4:48pm