Theatre for Transformation is a non-profit that contributes to our efforts to consciously heal by utilizing workshops, plays and community projects to broaden and re-shape how we understand history and our local community.


News & Events

Crumbs from the table of joy

Crumbs from the Table of Joy
Saturday, November 15 @ The Green Room Theatre at Franklin and Marshall College.

Get Directions »


2nd Wednesday Afternoon Film Series
at Bright Side Baptist Church

515 Hershey Ave
Lancaster, PA 17603

Free Event!
(Film Series runs January thru October. Series will be suspended after October 8th. Showings will resume January 14th, 2015)

October 8, 2:00 pm
Bandit Queen

The movie tells the story of the bandit queen Phoolan Devi who was sent to prison in 1983 and got free in 1994. During five years she was prosecuted by the Indian police and turned into a legend (like a modern day Robin Hood) by the Indian press. Although the press tended to make her the optimal hero with blue eyes, dark hair, being tall and beautiful - she was in reality an average Indian which makes it hard for the movie to fulfill the expectations of the audience and tell the truth at the same time. Later in life, she entered into politics and was assassinated in 2001.

View Flyer »


Who Votes?
A high school Voter Education program


Quarterly Sweeter the Berry performance showcase
November, February, May and August


Theatre Skills for Social Justice: A Summer Program

Please check back for updates!


About TfT

Who We Are

Theatre for Transformation is a homegrown Lancaster organization led by the Artistic Director, Ismail Smith-Wade-El and a volunteer Board of Directors.

Our Board

Maria Clarke
Katherine Filer – Chair
Sandra Franklin
Conrad L. Moore, Jr.
Shauna Murry – Treasurer
Dr. Rita Smith Wade–El
Holly Williams – Secretary

Our Vision

A community that celebrates our diversity, recognizes our common humanity, and contributes to the emancipation of our human spirit.

Our Mission

To transform our community through performance that inspires learning, social justice and racial harmony among diverse audiences.

What We Do

Theatre for Transformation is a non-profit organization that engages the public through workshops, plays and community involvement projects.

There is a yearly main stage production that premiers in Lancaster city and a quarterly, "Sweeter the Berry" performance showcase that is staged at various venues throughout the area. New this year is the engage U! Scholastic Outreach Program that consists of theatre skills workshops and the Who Votes? initiative. Additionally, TfT is continuing a film and discussion series with the 2nd Wednesday Afternoon movie, which originated with the Created Equal Film & Dialogue Series.

TfT attempts to influence diverse audiences utilizing the social justice philosophy, "theatre ART as activism," to broaden and re-shape how we understand our history and local community, while contributing to our efforts to consciously heal.

Our History

Dr. Amanda Kemp envisioned Theatre for Transformation while attending a spiritual retreat, starting the company in 2007. By 2010, a Board of Directors was enlisted and TfT incorporated, receiving tax exempt status in 2011.

TfT Productions:
2007 Show Me the Franklins
2009 Sister Friends
2009/2010 Hoodwinked
2012 To Cross an Ocean Four Centuries Long
2013 Emancipation Sweet

Up until this point, all have been written by Dr. Amanda Kemp.

A leadership change at the start of 2014, brought with it the new Artistic Director, the expansion of programming, enhanced visibility and an increased community presence. Theatre for Transformation is expanding its productions to include alternative playwrights.

Funding Sources

Pennsylvania Council on the Arts – Preserving Diverse Cultures
The National Endowment for the Humanities and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History Project (Created Equal Film & Dialogue Series)
Community donations
Individual donations

2014 TfT productions

January thru October, 2nd Wednesday Afternoon Film Series
June 6th, Sweeter the Berry – Truth
August 1st, Sweeter the Berry – Liberation
July 28 to August 8th, Engage U! Summer Theatre Skills Program

Artist Bios

Ismail Smith-Wade-El has worked with Theatre for Transformation in various capacities since 2012, including acting as a new play dramaturg for Emancipation Sweet, collaborating on Sweeter the Berry performance showcases, and acting as production manager for TfT's first drama production staged for the Philadelphia Fringe Festival. He's excited to take the reins of TfT and looks forward to engaging his community with the most compelling stories of African American life and history.

Ismail is a lifelong devotee of the theatre, from youth theatre education programs at the Fulton Opera House to working with renowned director Tang Shu-wing on a production of Nobel Laureate Gao Xingjian's, The Other Shore. A Carnegie Mellon alumnus, he specialized in dramadurgy and anthropology, produced research on the state of nationally-funded theatre worldwide, as well as historical research on the New Deal's Federal Theatre Project.

Ismail believes deeply in the concept of "scholar-activism" and gives time, not dedicated to TfT, to campaigning against human trafficking, racial injustice and the devaluation of the artistic endeavor.


Contact TfT

Theatre for Transformation
P.O. Box 8971
Lancaster, PA 17604