MPAACT SHOWS

MPAACT consistently produces a season of outstanding world premiere productions. Through these productions, it exposes audiences to stories seldom told on America's stages. From the story of three immigrant sisters from Ethiopia, to a fifty-somethings musings on life, to the portrait of a young African American man on his first trip to Africa, MPAACT strives to be a company where artists can express and audiences can experience a myriad of realities of Black life.

REVIEWS

The Reader 10/24/13
Recommended

Warm on the Coolin Board
"The city don't want us here," observes Brian, echoing what's perhaps a common sentiment in Roseland, the neighborhood where Shepsu Aakhu's new play is partly set. A parallel story set in the after life suffers from fuzzy plotting, but ultimately offers a powerful articulation of Aakhu's key questions.

- Keith Griffith

ABOUT

MPAACT exists to develop, nurture, and sustain Afrikan Centered Theatre (ACT), an artistic expression grounded in the many cultures and traditions of the Afrikan continent and its Diaspora. With a vision focused on creating new work and collaborative art, MPAACT produces and educates with the goal of increasing understanding and appreciation of (ACT) and its interrelated disciplines.

MPAACT has grown from a collective of like-minded individuals who shared an artistic vision, to an organization that has produced a formidable body of work. This work includes: main stage productions, a playwright's laboratory, standing productions, original music, a publishing company (Sakhu Publications), an arts education program, and many workshops and master classes.

It is important to us as a company that we, in everything we do pull from the disparate cultural elements which unite artists in the Afrikan Diaspora.

Drawing from the well that nourished artists such as Wole Soyinka, Charles Mingus, Adrienne Kennedy, Amiri Baraka and Bob Marley among others, we create and perform work, which examines and celebrates the many facets of Afrikan theatre.

MISSION

MPAACT exists to develop, nurture, and sustain Afrikan Centered Theatre (ACT), an artistic expression grounded in the many cultures and traditions of the Afrikan continent and its Diaspora. With a vision focused on creating new work and collaborative art, MPAACT produces and educates with the goal of increasing understanding and appreciation of (ACT) and its interrelated disciplines.

HISTORY

MPAACT was formed in 1990 when a group of student activist at the University of Illinois-Champaign decided to use the performing arts as a medium to connect with and explore African culture as expressed throughout the Diaspora. With perhaps more determination than skill, they produced, A House Divided, a collection of short pieces created by the collective. Encouraged by this experience and inspired by responsive audiences, this collective decided to forge ahead and formally organize as the Ma’at Production Association of Afrikan Centered Theatre (MPAACT).

In 1992 MPAACT set up shop in Chicago. Anchored in the Chatham community on the city’s Southside, MPAACT started performing what would become its first major production. Continuum: Visions from Yetunde┬ápremiered at the Body Politic Theatre in 1993 and received positive critical recognition. This production set the tone for MPAACT’s expression of Afrikan Centered Theatre (ACT) utilizing drama, music, and dance to delve into life within the African Diaspora.

MPAACT has grown from a collective of like-minded individuals who shared an artistic vision, to an organization that has produced a formidable body of work.

This work includes: mainstage productions, a playwright’s laboratory, standing productions, original music, a publishing company (Sakhu Publications), an arts education program, and many workshops and master classes. Artistically, MPAACT is an innovative and well-respected theatre focused on the development of new work. Most of its productions feature MPAACT’s award-winning and signature “Soundscape” textured with live music and electronic elements. Improvisational in nature the Soundscape grows and changes with each performance. This unique and sophisticated use of sound and music, along with its pursuit of crafting its own expression of ACT, has created an aesthetic that separates MPAACT from other African American companies in Chicago.

AWARDS

MPAACT is a prolific organization producing:

  • • 26 World Premiere Mainstage Productions from 18 Different Writers
  • • 17 Touring and Workshop Productions
  • • 2 Radio Broadcast Productions
  • • 2 Concert Productions
  • • 3 Publications
  • • 3 Art/Photography exhibitions
MPAACT and its artists have been recognized for artistic excellence by awards bodies, critics and competitions.

Visit the AWARDS page for complete list of awards and honors.

AWARDS

ARTISTS

MPAACT artists comprise a multi-generational collective of talented members ranging in age from mid 20s to late 50s. Unlike many Chicago area theatre companies, MPAACT is not an acting ensemble. From its inception, MPAACT has included writers, directors, technicians, designers, musicians and actors.

It is important to the collective that MPAACT pull from the disparate cultural elements which unite artists in the Afrikan Diaspora. Drawing from the well that nourished artists such as Wole Soyinka, Charles Mingus, Adrienne Kennedy, Amiri Baraka and Bob Marley, MPAACT creates and performs work, that examines and celebrates many facets of Afrikan theatre.

Visit the ARTISTS page for complete list of artists and company members.

ARTISTS

BOARD & STAFF

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
• Reginald Lawrence


MANAGING PRODUCER
• Carla Stillwell


LITERARY DIRECTOR
• Leonard House


CASTING DIRECTOR
• LaNisa Frederick


GROUP SALES
• Tamberla Perry


MARKETING DIRECTOR
• Marie Cisco


BOARD MEMBERS
• Earl Fox -President
• Juelle Daley-Vice President
• Hilal Tamrat-Treasurer
• Jamilah Owens-Secretary
• Elizabeth Nonie-New Member
• Peter James-New Member

SUPPORT

Help MPAACT continue to develop new voices

There are several ways you can help MPAACT continue its mission to nurture new artists and explore the many dimensions of Afrikan culture through entertaining theatre and educational programs based in Afrikan Centered Theatre.

Make a Donation

MPAACT is a 501(c)3 organization. Donations are tax deductible to the extent provided by law.

You may send a check to:

MPAACT
PO Box 10039
Chicago, IL 60610

Join MPAACT's Board of Directors

MPAACT is looking to recruit exceptional individuals interested in committing their time and resources in support of its mission. If you would like more information on board membership, contact Reginald Lawrence.

FUNDERS

• Arts Work Fund
• Dept. of Cultural Affairs - City Arts II
• The Joyce Foundation
• The Fry Foundation
• The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation
• The African American Legacy Initiate of the Chicago Community Trust
• The Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.
• The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation
• The Alphawood Foundation

AND MATCHING GIFTS

• Pepsico Foundation

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PAST PERFORMANCES

2013 & 2014

2011 & 2012

2009 & 2010

2007 & 2008

2001 to 2006

1996 to 2000

1991 to 1995