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.
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
The Founding Committee
Lee Kenneth Richardson
The Founding Community Advisory Committee
Rev Nate Gasden
Dr. Pat Gasden