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About Us

Members of the Afro-American Players, Inc. in front of the South  fountain at the University of Texas at Austin


Opened the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library to the performing arts as President Johnson unsealed the Civil Rights Papers to the world.

Written and developed  by Glo Dean Baker,“I Am Woman, I Am Black” was performed to sensitize  participants on the problems and perspectives of black women at the first International Year of The Woman  in Austin, TX.

During it’s tenure, the AAP, Inc.  has enjoyed great accomplishments. It opened the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library to the performing arts as President Johnson unsealed the Civil Rights papers to the world. The Players have produced works in conjunction with Nobel Prize Winner Wole Soyinka and Director Dapo  Adelupa. It has coordinated workshops and plays with South African activists, Dennis Brutus and Peter Abrams and has produced international broadcasts with  Radio Free Europe.  As a host to Theatro Compasino of California and the Southern Blacks Arts Alliance, the AAP has provided a wide-range of cultural experiences to the Texas arts community.  “I Am Woman, I Am Black” was developed to sensitize  participants on the perspectives of black women at the first International Year of The Woman  in Austin, Texas. To assist the Austin Independent School District in their integration process.

  Directors of the Company have served as Artist Ambassadors in East, West and South Africa.

Project CREATE (Cultural Recognition Enhances Awareness, Talent and Esteem) Art centered project to assist the Austin School in their integration process. Funded by HEW-Office of Education.

AACEEP (Afro American Cultural Entertainment, Enlightenment Program) with the City of Austin to promote cross cultural information and education.

Project Masala anti gang program conducted in four DISD schools using theater, dispute mediation, and athletics.

Winner's Camp reading, social skill  and cultural enrichment program, enhancing the quality of life for at -risk youth of Dallas County.


Co-FoundersFred and Glo

GLO DEAN BAKER and FRED GARDNER are founding directors of The Afro- American Players, Inc., which is the oldest existing Black theatre company in the Southwest Region of the United States. Their Company was founded while they were undergraduates at the University of Texas at Austin in 1973.  They have performed all over the world and conducted many award-winning cultural arts programs. The mission of the Players is to provide professional theatre, to promote cross-cultural sensitivity and to provide an understanding of the history and traditions of Africans in the Americas. Accolades include:

  • Opening the Civil Rights Papers to the world at the LBJ Library with President Lyndon Baines Johnson in Austin, Texas

  • Project CREATE to aid the desegregation process with the Austin ISD 

  • Neighborhood Touring Grants and Girls, Inc. Arts Program with the National Endowment for the Arts

  • Rights of Passage Gang Program with Hispanic and Afro-American youth with the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development and Parks and Recreation

  • The Masala Project for at-risk youth in four Dallas Public Schools

Fred Gardner is an award winning visual artist and Glo Dean Baker is an acclaimed writer, director and producer.

Currently, they produce the Children’s Mask Theatre Program in 120 schools and child care agencies in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. They also tour major productions in theatres and college campuses across the U.S. They will be holding professional auditions for their U.S. Tour of “Rap On America”. Soon they will open EMAC, an exceptional multi-cultural arts consortium, which will eventually house a theatre, art gallery, studios, restaurant and a poetry grotto.

The AAP has an elaborate history of involvement in youth programs.  For six years it operated Project CREATE in conjunction with the HEW - Office of Education. Through the use of theatrical techniques, the company developed positive self-concepts and self-esteem among African-American and Hispanic students and encouraged cross-cultural sensitivity.  As a part of the Gang Prevention, the Masala Project was integrated with DISD Schools and the Gang Prevention Unit in the City of Dallas with 800 at-risk students. This program was funded by HUD.  Students worked with arts and humanities professionals. Students wrote, performed and conducted theatrical productions. 

Currently Fred and Glo presents the Children’s Mask Theatre in 120 schools and child care facilities in the DFW Metroplex.  The purpose of the Mask Theatre is to promote understanding of various cultures and people.  Fred is also an accomplished visual artist. In addition to these activities,  the couple produces major plays on tour for educational, social, military and humanities groups.

Major Productions

"Sty of the Blind Pig" by Phillip Hayes Dean

"I Am Woman, I Am Black" by Glo Dean Baker

Blacfest '78

"The Ghetto Don't Cry-Scream" by AAP


"Ye Shall Know the Truth" by Glo Dean Baker


"Four Women" by Glo Dean Baker


"Trials of Brother Jero" by Wole Soyinka

"Sometimes I Find It Hard To Sing And Dance" by Glo Dean Baker