Vera Oyé Yaa-Anna, Founder and Executive Director
Welcome! OPH was first established in 1993 as a family-friendly theatrical company in Los Angeles, CA to share the arts and beauty of West African culture with Americans. We have served communities in Washington, DC since 2003. Our purpose is to educate through a holistic, creative curriculum and entertain through performance that deepens intercultural understanding.
Our audiences are diverse and include children young as age three, people with disabilities, the elderly, cancer patients, caregivers, youth involved with the justice system, substance abusers, inmates, ex-offenders, and homeless individuals. We engage a range of therapeutic arts practices in holistic interaction. Through our workshops, programs and performances, we strive to facilitate opportunities that celebrate the creative human spirit and illuminate joyful possibilities through the arts. We value your interest and support! Thank you for visiting!
To demonstrate the enlightening, therapeutic, and transformational power of the arts to enhance physical and emotional wellness, and inspire hope, imagination, agency, and opportunity.
A city where children from challenged DC neighborhoods develop into healthy, confident, creative, and constructive adults through the practice of African cultural arts.
What Our Name Means
We believe in building bridges between cultures and races because mutual respect and understanding enrich our human experience. We use common and shared experiences to create an inviting space for our audiences, similar to the nurturing atmosphere of an African village. In traditional African societies, the palaver hut is the vibrant cultural hub of the community. The palaver hut is a round, open-air structure where visitors are welcomed and social gatherings such as feasts, community dialogue, youth education, and conflict resolution take place. It is built with organic materials in a circular style to symbolize the inclusion, equality, and collective participation of everyone within the circle. This is the origin of our name based on enduring traditional African values we cherish and uphold.