The Asante Children’s Theatre of Indianapolis, IN (ACT) is a youth development organization committed to enriching the lives of young people so they become empowered citizens of the world.

For those interested in artistic, personal and professional growth, Asante provides creative arts training, transformative performances, effective leadership development, and inspiring opportunities to unlock your potential and connect with a global community of artists and arts professionals so you can successfully move to the next level of your career.

ACT was created in 1990 with a dual purpose:

1. Respond to the fact that fewer and fewer school-age youth are introduced to and involved in the arts on a regular basis

2. Celebrate the unique traditions of African and African American performing arts.

Instructors and mentors use acting, dancing, singing, and storytelling to develop meaningful life skills helping youth prepare for their role in college, work and society. Our overarching goal is to sponsor a “Culture of Excellence” that encourages our participants to be the best they can be at all times. The achievement of producing accomplished entertainers and quality productions results in empowered youth, well-rounded citizens, enriched family lives, strengthened family bonds and a more vibrant community.

Our Story

The Asante Children’s Theatre (ACT) has created extraordinary theatre experiences that educate, challenge and inspire young artists.  In 1990, it was created by Deborah Asante to provide a safe place of self-discovery and empowerment.  We celebrate the unique traditions of African and African American performing arts.  In 2003, a volunteer Board of Directors was established and a 501(c)3 status was granted.

ACT is now a place where youth and adults work side by side learning and building confidence in acting, singing, dancing, storytelling, writing, teamwork, obedience, respect of authority and how to quickly resolve conflict.  Our artists perform at various community events and theatres around the State of Indiana.

We offer 4 programs:

Our Operating Principles

When you are a part of Asante, you are a part of a global family of artists and arts professionals that continually seek to grow and help uncover the best that is already within you. No matter what age, race, or background, we come together through the power of the African and African-American performing arts tradition to tell stories that uplift the human spirit and speak to themes that help us all be better for ourselves, our family, our community, and the world.

  • To rescue at-risk youth and provide a safe place for them to develop into productive citizens
  • To develop a strong work ethic and sense of self-sufficiency in our youth
  • To enlighten, educate and empower youth and families through the provision of accessible and affordable family entertainment
  • To preserve the traditions of African and African-American performing arts
  • To build leadership and develop a clear understanding of character development both on and off stage
  • To encourage thinking, creativity, inquiry and self-confidence
  • To improve the communication and life skills of all youth participants
  • To encourage goal setting, creative problem solving, task completion and honoring commitments
  • To advocate the appreciation of art
  • To ensure our youth participants stay in school and graduate on time
  • To enlist the humanitarian themes of African traditions and promote self-respect and a sense of responsibility to self, family and community.
  • To develop an appreciation of all cultures by inspiring pride in our African heritage
  • To provide a safe haven for youth to explore diverse cultural experiences and new ideas
  • To expose youth to educational and diverse cultural experiences
  • To foster a culture of volunteerism and philanthropy

Administrative Staff

Keesha Dixon

Keesha Dixon
Keesha DixonExecutive Director
Arts Administrator,  Performer, Vocalist, Drummer (Yoruba flava), Textile Artist, Youth Development Pro, and Teaching Artist

Some of my highlights

My Favorite Production
Abena and the Python – I was asked to be the executive director in 2005. Before that, I had been the costume designer since 1992.   I truly enjoyed that opportunity.  I was able to explore and create a visually pleasing artistic representation of the script by combining textiles and other resources at my disposal.  Both times I had the opportunity to costume “Abena and the Python”, I had such a good time blending colors, textures, and patterns to convey “Africa” albeit, I have never been. The wedding scene featured vibrant metallic and green fabric on Abena and The Prince.  The warriors were the most intricate to costume.  This play was true eye candy.  The actors “loved” their costumes and the audience commented on how colorful and professional the production was on every level.

  • Romeo and Juliet Set In Africa
  • The Wiz
  • Tribute to Curtis Mayfield

My Highest Accomplishment
So far, my son, John L. Buckley, III.  I am so very proud of the man he has become.  He is an alumnus of ACT and has volunteered his talents from time to time.  Next, I am equally proud of my transition from the world of employment and training to arts administrator, teaching and performing artist.  I believe, through the work that I do, I am building a legacy.  My “highest” accomplishment will come when the future of the Asante Children’s Theatre is financially secured.
My Role at Asante
At ACT, we are like kids in a sandbox. We roll around, we play, we create, we have fun. I make sure there’s a box and that there is sand in it.

Seriously, I plan, direct, and coordinate the day to day operations of the organization with the help of staff. I focus on fund raising, financial management, marketing, human resources, community outreach and board recruitment.

Off Topic Favorite Things to Do
I don’t have a favorite thing, I have favorite things:  I love to play my drums.  That’s when I commune with my ancestors. I love to ride my motorcycle. That’s when I commune with nature. I love to sew and crochet. That’s when I create wearable art with my hands. Cooking and driving are on the list too 🙂

Brandy Tillman

Brandy TillmanAdmin. Assistant to the Executive Director
Admin. Assistant to the Executive Director

Some of my highlights

My Favorite Production

My Highest Accomplishment
My Role at Asante
Off Topic Favorite Things to Do

Ennis Adams Jr. ^

Ennis Adams Jr.Media and Communications Specialist
Media and Communications Specialist

Some of my highlights

My Favorite Production

My Highest Accomplishment
My Role at Asante
Off Topic Favorite Things to Do

Bobbi Davis

Bobbi DavisInterim Volunteer Coordinator
Interim Volunteer Coordinator

Some of my highlights

My Favorite Production

My Highest Accomplishment
My Role at Asante
Off Topic Favorite Things to Do

Cuong Tran

Cuong TranGraphic Design
Graphic Design

Some of my highlights

My Favorite Production

My Highest Accomplishment
My Role at Asante
Off Topic Favorite Things to Do

Program Staff

Deborah Asante

Deborah Asante
Deborah AsanteFounder/Artistic Director
Actress, Writer, Director and award-winning Storyteller. Deborah has dedicated her life to teaching and sharing the value of culture and heritage through the performing arts.

Some of my highlights

My Favorite Production
Star Midnight has been in my heart for years to write and produce. I’ll never forget when I heard someone in the audience commented negatively about one of our performers skin color. They didn’t see the beauty I saw in being black. Star Midnight breaks down barriers that have plagued our community and culture for centuries. I am grateful that we were able to accomplish such an important issue for other young people to see and know it’s alright to be different.
  • Star Midnight
  • Step N’ Stand Tall Blues
  • Middle Passage

My Highest Accomplishment
When I became a mother to Terrance Asante-Doyle I knew that was my highest accomplishment. I am so proud of the man my son has grown into and his two beautiful daughters. Family is very important and if it were not for the support of my family, ACT would not have been possible. I am proud to keep the quality of ACT’s projects at a high standard and producing Star Midnight.
My Role at Asante
I am challenged everyday to pour excellence into our youth. It is my job to find creative ways to excite, empower, grow and cultivate world class artists.
Off Topic Favorite Things to Do
Trains and traveling. I love to get on a train and travel across the country, exploring new site and gaining new experiences. It’s important for artists to step away and get refreshed to create. In my pass time I like to see the world.

Kimberly Dickerson

Kimberly DickersonAssistant to Artistic Director
Assistant to Artistic Director

Some of my highlights

My Favorite Production

My Highest Accomplishment
My Role at Asante
Off Topic Favorite Things to Do

Mark Duerson

Mark DuersonMusic Director
Music Director

Some of my highlights

My Favorite Production

My Highest Accomplishment
My Role at Asante
Off Topic Favorite Things to Do

Austin Day^

Austin DayP4L Facilitator
P4L Facilitator

Some of my highlights

My Favorite Production

My Highest Accomplishment
My Role at Asante
Off Topic Favorite Things to Do

 

LeToryia Gowdy^

LeToryia Gowdy
LeToryia GowdyP4L Facilitator
An outgoing, loving and vibrant young lady that loves challenges and achieving every goal set before her.

Some of my highlights

My Favorite Production
My favorite production would have to be Star Midnight! Not only was it my favorite because I was Star, but it really stretched me as a performer. I’ve always been strong in singing and dancing and this play really helped me achieve new heights with my acting ability.
  • The Wiz
  • The Motown Story
  • Step N’ Stand Tall Blues

My Highest Accomplishment
I think my highest accomplishment was when I choreographed the Tribute to Michael Jackson. That was a big show and I really used my creative juices to come up with all the different concepts for the different dances. It was a really fun show and the talent was awesome!
My Role at Asante
My job is to get you moving. Rather you’re a seasoned dancer or you have two left feet, it’s my responsibility to make you feel comfortable moving to music.
Off Topic Favorite Things to Do
I love to go shopping and going to the movies. But all in all I like having an all around good time with friends and family.

Makeda Lands^

Makeda LandsP4L Facilitator/ Admin Assistant
P4L Facilitator/ Admin Assistant

Some of my highlights

My Favorite Production

My Highest Accomplishment
My Role at Asante
Off Topic Favorite Things to Do

Joshua Humphrey

Joshua Humphrey P4L Facilitator
P4L Facilitator

Some of my highlights

My Favorite Production

My Highest Accomplishment
My Role at Asante
Off Topic Favorite Things to Do

Joshua Short^

Joshua ShortP4L Facilitator
P4L Facilitator

Some of my highlights

My Favorite Production

My Highest Accomplishment
My Role at Asante
Off Topic Favorite Things to Do

Cheryl McNary

Cheryl McNaryP4L Program Assistant
P4L Program Assistant

Some of my highlights

My Favorite Production

My Highest Accomplishment
My Role at Asante
Off Topic Favorite Things to Do

Felecia Hedrick

Felecia HedrickAcademy Paymaster & Costumer
Academy Paymaster & Costumer

Some of my highlights

My Favorite Production

My Highest Accomplishment
My Role at Asante
Off Topic Favorite Things to Do

^ – denotes ACT Alumnus

 

 

 

Here’s The Good Stuff.

Check out a few highlights from previous shows.

Permalink

Madame Walker Theatre

Permalink

Abena and the Python

Contact Us Now

Get active with ACT today.

Stay in touch for more information on tickets, auditions, programs, support and job opportunities.

Contact Us Now