Learning History, Culture, and Inclusivity Through Youth Theatre

Asante Children’s Theatre actors

Through the Academy Summer Intensive produced in partnership with Asante Children’s Theatre and Conner Prairie, Indianapolis children are able to learn both the art of theatre and American history along the way. The Program of the Asante Art Institute of Indianapolis is specially crafted for youth actors ages 12 to18 years of age. Through an ongoing partnership established in 2014, the two institutions work together to provide a summer of inclusive programming revolving around history, art, and culture. Participants auditioned for the program in early June of this year and began this summer’s theatrical journey on June 21st.

Understanding Trauma, Struggle and Resilience in American History

Freedom Church, The Liberation of Soul, is a one-act play created and directed by Asante Art Insitute’s founder, Deborah Asante. The play is produced in partnership with Conner Prairie in an effort for both organizations to become more inclusive. The play weaves a story using the threads of American history, trauma, and resilience to explore the country’s struggle for equality. This is particularly shown through the evolution of how the Black Church influences that struggle.

The play will showcase the talents of Asante Children’s Theatre Academy members and include vocals by AshLee Baskin, choreography by LeToryia Gowdy, music composition by Mark Duerson, and a special guest appearance by Josiah McCruiston.Utilizing a multi-generational cast of eight talented actors, singers and dancers, this work recreates authentic songs and dances from our past, while stirring in new music and original spoken word. Recognizing the troubling times we find ourselves in, this production asks its audience to take a deeper look into America’s past, hoping to find a way of moving toward a future that allows us to heal. Freedom Church, The Liberation of Soul, exerts that the trauma of enslavement has injured us all and that we may never heal until we are able to look back at our mistakes and embrace our humanity.

Check out these pictures and video of the ensemble rehearsing for Freedom Church, while enjoying the summer intensive experience on the grounds of Conner Prairie.

Click here to see a short video snippet from Scene Two of the play.

Terrance Asante-Doyle is an Alumnus of the Asante Children’s Theatre and the Assistant to the Artistic Director.

About the Author

Terrance Asante-Doyle is an Alumnus of the Asante Children’s Theatre and the Assistant to the Artistic Director. He has worked in youth development for over 12 years with a focus on those affected by the justice system.  A father of three and avid supporter of the Arts Terrance embraces the opportunity to continue this important work within the Indianapolis community and throughout the state.