Sankofa is an Akan (Ghana) word that means, "We must go back and reclaim our past so we can move forward;” so that we understand why and how we came to be who we are today, thereby gaining wisdom, power, and hope to make positive progress through the sharing of this knowledge.
Sankofa African American Theatre Company exists to engage and enrich the Harrisburg region around the African American perspective on relevant issues through thought-provoking theatre that reflects artistic excellence.
To carry out our mission, Sankofa AATC:
Is An African American Led Organization
Is Inclusive while focused on the African American Experience and Perspective
Produces Theatre that Illuminates the history, culture, and life-experiences of African Americans
Creates safe spaces for education, engagement, and empowerment around the African American experience.
In late 2015, an ensemble of local professional African American actors and the founders of Open Stage of Harrisburg began to seriously dialogue about the need for an African American led and focused theatrical arena. This group recognized the need to have African American focused theatre beyond an annual February production tied to commemorating Black History Month.
In 2016, conceptual discussion moved to establishing a formalized founding committee that met purposefully over nine months to complete missioning, visioning, strategic planning and program development work which gave birth to Sankofa African American Theatre Company (SAATC). In January 2017 SAATC aligned with Open Stage as a fiscal sponsor, strategic partner and mentor. In June of 2017 SAATC was incorporated and received its 501(c) (3) status in November 2017. Sankofa African American Theatre Company matured with the support of the PCA and was able to part with its fiscal sponsor.
Since its first production in 2018, SAATC has been consistently increasing representation of African American theatre artists and audience members to be more reflective of the demographic diversity of the Harrisburg area community. Sankofa African American Theatre Company has strengthened the cultural and education landscape of the regional community through twelve artistically strong live theatre productions of both new and published works that have reached close to 10,000 students and adults. SAATC will continue its positive economic impact in the local community by attracting and competitively engaging BIPOC actors and staff, who would otherwise not have had access in the existing theatre community. In carrying out its mission to illuminate African American history and culture and cultivate healthy spaces for cross-cultural dialogue and learning, SAATC has formed strong collaborative partnerships with other arts established organizations in Dauphin County such as Gamut Theatre, Open Stage, WITF, The Monument Project, Theatre Harrisburg, and West Shore Theatre and West Shore Symphony Orchestra in Cumberland County to deepen the impact of our collective work for the people who live, work and consume culture in Harrisburg regional area.