Our Name & Logo

Our Name

The company’s name is partially inspired by the Oscar Brockett text book, The Essential Theatre, commonly utilized to instruct courses in Introduction to Theatre at most American colleges and universities. The name along with institutional objectives are also borrowed from and retrofitted in homage to Florida A&M university’s highly competitive and fertile theatre training program referred to as the FAMU (pronounced FAM-U) Essential Theatre. The organization’s founder along with many of the founding staff are Florida A&M university alumni.

A black and white image of an ornate heart.Our Logo

The Essential Theatre adopted an Adinkra symbol for sankofa to symbolize its core mission. It was chosen by the Founder/Artistic Director S. Robert Morgan upon the urging of the late graphic arts and web designer, Ethno Musicologist, Isabel (Isa) Angulo, PhD. Morgan thought it would be ideal for adding depth and resonance to promote the organization’s core literary values. it is appropriately placed at the very center of the organization’s logo symbolically equivalent to the placement of the human heart. Sankofa is a word in the Twi language of Ghana that translates as “Go back and get it” (san – to return; ko – to go; fa – to fetch, to seek and take) and also refers to the Asante Adinkra symbol represented either by a bird with its head turned backwards taking an egg off its back, or as a stylised heart shape. Sankofa is often associated with the proverb, ‘Se wo were fi na wosankofa a yenkyi,” which translates as: “It is not wrong to go back for that which you have forgotten.”[1]

The sankofa symbol appears frequently in traditional Akan art, and has also been adopted as an important symbol in an African-American and African Diaspora context to represent the need to reflect on the past to build a successful future. It is one of the most widely dispersed adinkra symbols, appearing in modern jewellery, tattoos, and clothing.