Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Minority Business Highlight: Naptown African American Theatre Collective

The Naptown African American Theatre Collective is Indianapolis’ first Black equity theater company.  

Founded by Indianapolis native and Black creative LaKesha Lorene in 2023, NAATC was born from the desire to bring Black stories to life on stage using Black actors, directors, producers and technicians in Indianapolis.

The 501c3 nonprofit organization aims to “educate, equip and empower artists and arts professionals by providing opportunities in training, professional development and community engagement,” according to its website. 

As an equity theater, Lorene said NAATC is affiliated and covered under Actor’s Equity Association — which is the only professional American labor union for stage professionals. Being under that “umbrella” allows the collective to provide full-time and substantial part-time opportunities to Black creatives working in the arts, whether onstage or working behind the scenes. 

NAATC announced its inaugural season “A Neaux Day” earlier this year, which debuted with Austin Dean Ashford’s “Black Book” in May 2023 and includes shows such as “Detroit ‘67,” “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” and “The Light.” Each of the shows chosen to be produced aim to speak toward the humanity, beauty and power of Black stories, Lorene said. 

NAATC is currently located and performing at the Phoenix Theatre Cultural Center, located at 705 N. Illinois St. For more information about the collective’s 2023-24 season and to purchase tickets, visit

If you have a minority owned and operated business you’d like to be featured in the Indiana Minority Business Magazine Directory, visit Indiana Minority Business Directory.

Contact staff writer Chloe McGowan at 317-762-7848. Follow her on Twitter @chloe_mcgowanxx.

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