The Beat previews the KENTE Project, a cooperative written and performing arts program co produced by Columbus Children's Choir, Columbus Children's Theatre, Thiossane West African Dance Company and Thurber House.
As the KENTE Project is named for the West African woven kente cloth, local artist and volunteer Suzanne Accetta is the weaver.
Not that she hasn't had help selecting the threads and assembling them.
The project brings Columbus Children's Choir, Columbus Children's Theatre, Thiossane West African Dance Institute and Thurber House together for a written and performing arts program based on West African folk tales inspired by stories contained in The Orphan Girl, a book by Kent State University professor Dr. Buchi Offodile.
The concept was hatched about two years ago, following a performance by the children's choir and the Thiossane dancers. CCT was soon brought into the fold and, in search of tales to bind their performance, the groups' leaders found Offodile's book and invited Thurber House into the mix.
"Each group will do its own thing, but we wanted there to be an overall narrative," Accetta told The Beat.
The production will feature the three performance arts groups, each presenting an adaptation of a tale from Offodile's book. Additionally, Thurber House has hosted youth writing workshops with Dr. Offodile.
"The idea is to get them interested in writing at an early age, so they will grow up wanting to write," he explained.
The collaborative process, CCT artistic director William Goldsmith said, "has been a great learning process for everyone. To be able to experience it through all forms of art, from writing to dance, to theater to song, is truly special."
"This unique blend of works represents the best of Columbus' artistic community," added Thiossane director Suzan Bradford Kounta.
"We are very grateful for the support of PNC Arts Alive and the Greater Columbus Arts Council," said CCC director Dr. Sandra Mathias.