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.

This is the story of ACT

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 🙂

Amber Daniel^

Amber DanielAdmin. Assistant to the Executive Director
Admin. Assistant to the Executive Director