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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 - Donald Alsedek, General Manager, was instrumental in the founding of Sankofa. As the producing artistic director of Open Stage, Alsedek saw a need for an autonomous African American Theatre Company in Central Pennsylvania. Along with Sharia Benn, theater practitioners and interested community members,  he  convened strategic planning and steering committees to form Sankofa and provided fiscal sponsorship for the newly formed organization. Upon his retirement from the helm at Open Stage, Alsedek joined Sankofa’s Board of Directors and assumed the role of General Manager.

Chudney Reed is an excellence driven professional with over 15 years of executive and senior management with  increasing efficiency, productivity, and revenue while effectively managing projects of all sizes with non- profit and for profit companies. Having served in senior positions within the community, Chudney brings a variety of perspectives to her current role with Sankofa. Chudney was born and raised in Harrisburg, PA, she currently lives in her community with her husband and two kids. She holds several professional certificates.

Lyeneal Griffin - Lyeneal is a native of Hattiesburg, MS, and a graduate of The University of Southern Mississippi, where he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Performance. After completing his Master of Fine Arts in Acting from Regent University in 2018, Lyeneal has worked professionally as an actor, director, and teaching artist, collaborating with regional professional theaters in the Northeast and Southeast regions. Presently, Lyeneal holds the position of Professor of Theatre in the Department of Theatre and Communication at William Carey University. Additionally, he serves as the Assistant Head Coach for the university's nationally recognized Forensics Speech and Debate team. Furthermore, you can catch him portraying Jonas in the Apple TV+ original series, Raymond and Ray.

The Board of Directors

Sharia Benn, President, Executive Artistic Director 

Donald Alsedek, Vice President 

Micah Simms-Gantt, Treasurer 

Dr. Jean Corey, Secretary

Anne Alsedek

Maurice Norman

dr. carol howard

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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