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Our Team.

Sharia Benn - Founder, President & Executive Artistic Director is a native of Baltimore, Maryland and graduate of Towson University.  Sharia holds a special passion for combining acting and historical studies to engage  audiences through productions highlighting historically significant African-American people and events. She is highly sought after for her original play and performance Voices of F.E.W" that chronicles the life of Frances Ellen Watkins Harper (1825 - 1911); famed abolitionist, literary figure, and champion for civil and women’s rights.  As a contemporary champion for civil engagement, Sharia has worked tirelessly to birth and grow the Sankofa African American Theatre Company of Harrisburg to authentically and honorably amplify Black voices, artists, and stories on stage.

Donald L. Alsedek - Don co-founded Open Stage of Harrisburg in 1984. He first served as the theatre’s Artistic Director and in 2006 assumed both the organization’s artistic and administrative leadership as its Producing Artistic Director. Upon his retirement from the organization in June of 2017, Donald was recognized by the theatre’s Board of Directors as Artistic Director Emeritus.

The Board of Directors 2022-2023​

Sharia Benn, President, Executive Artistic Director 

Donald Alsedek, Vice President 

Micah Simms-Gantt, Treasurer 

Dr. Jean Corey, Secretary

Anne Alsedek

Sunada Roberts

Valerie Gray

Jesse Hyche

Neeka Jones

Christyan Seay

The Founding Committee

Sharia Benn  

Leonard Dozier  

Lee Kenneth Richardson  

Anne Alsedek  

Donald Alsedek

The Founding Community Advisory Committee

Anne Alsedek

Donald  Alsedek

Sharia Benn

William Benn

Aaron  Bomar

​​Gilinda Cousar

Marian Cannon-Dornell

Jesse Hyche

Neeka Jones

Dana Kinsey

Kelly Summerford

Rev Nate Gasden

Dr. Pat Gasden

Tony Hall

Neeka Jones

Ryan Hicks

Jeremy Patterson

Joy Hyman

Lisa Stevenson

Johntra Williams

DeAnna Williams




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