Pan-African Theatre Ensemble
“A people without knowledge of their history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” –Marcus Garvey
Established in the fall 2016 by D. Amy-Rose Forbes-Erickson, the Pan-African Theatre Ensemble is a non-profit, voluntary, repertory theatre developed for ongoing research in Pan-African theatre and performance in the Department of the Pan-African Studies 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. Pan-Africanism is a concept and principle of unity among Africans on the continent of Africa and people of African descent worldwide who share in the traumatic history of trans-Atlantic slavery and scattering of African peoples throughout the world. The Pan-African Theatre Ensemble is the first company of its kind anywhere – dedicated to black theatre from everywhere. The goal of the Pan-African Theatre Ensemble 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 Pan-African Theatre Ensemble extends Efua Sutherland’s vision for Pan-African cultural activism with the Pan-African Historical Theatre Festival (PANAFEST) Biennial in Ghana, uniting emerging and established theatre and performance by Africans on the continent and peoples of African descent.
The Pan-African Theatre Ensemble’s vision is:
To produce a repertoire of emerging and canonical theatre from Africa and the Pan-African world, including the United States, Caribbean, Latin America, North America and Europe.
To experiment with a rich reservoir of Pan-African theatre and performance forms to create new methods – music and mime, physical theatre, storytelling, ethnographic folk, and other African, African American, and Caribbean forms
To promote innovation and creativity in the use of space, performance styles, design, and directorial methods
To encourage open membership to all people regardless of race, gender, sexuality, nationality, disability, and others.
To collaborate with local and regional artists and communities to produce theatre and performance
To promote civic engagement and social justice issues of gender, race, sexuality, and nationality through a selection of plays and performances.
To explore a variety of black expressions in non-Western and Western performance styles
The Pan-African Theatre Ensemble’s mandate is:
To produce inspiring annual theatre seasons with Pan-African themes through theatre
To forge links with African and African Diasporic theatre companies for traditional folk, experimental performance styles, and contemporary works using Western and non-Western forms
To participate in national and international theatre festivals, including PANAFEST (Pan-African Historical Theatre Project), Carifesta (Caribbean Music and Arts Festival), Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and others.
To promote volunteerism in the Pan-African Theatre Ensemble for community building
To encourage and promote emerging talents in the field.
To provide opportunities and outlets for all, and especially for under-represented theatre artists in all areas of theatre production.
To educate and empower audiences and communities
To promote the role of theatre in community, society and the world