Brandon Williamson is the founder of Pure Ink Poetry and a member of the Ujima Theatre Company. He has performed in multiple Ujima productions including Ruined, The Scavenger’s Daughter, and The Green Pastures. Brandon is also an internationally acclaimed spoken word artist who has graced stages across the US, Canada, Iceland, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany. Brandon was brought up in theater under the mentorship of Lorna C. Hill and the Ujima Theatre company, and has a Bachelor's degree in Theatre Arts from SUNY Fredonia, and a Master's in Creativity from the International Center for Studies in Creativity.
Mary Moebius has been a member of Ujima Theatre Company for over 25 years. She is currently also a member of Ujima’s Board of Directors. She has performed in many Company productions; some of her favorites Include MATTER OF INTENT, PIPELINE, THE BEST WOMAN, IN DA BEGINNIN’ and ONCE ON THIS ISLAND. She loves Ujima’s dedication to addressing issues of social justice through the arts, and is proud to continue carrying out the artistic vision of our beloved founder Lorna C. Hill.
Interim Artistic Director
Sarah Norat-Phillips is a founding member of Ujima Theatre Company. She recently returned to active membership following the passing of our visionary director, Lorna C. Hill. Sarah is leading a newly selected Interim Artistic Advisory Committee to help ensure Ujima's continued commitment to its long standing history of artistic excellence.
Sarah trained directly under Ms. Hill and actively worked as an actress, singer, director and producer with the company during its first 18 years. She performed in dozens of Ujima shows including the original productions of “...And Bid Him Sing”,”Yalla Bitch”,”Opportunity Please
Knock!” and “El Hajj Malik”. A multiple ARTIE Award nominee and winner, Sarah is also an experienced director having helmed several successful Ujma productions including “Two Trains Running” by August Wilson, “The Island”, by Athol Fugard and “A Soldier’s Play” by Charles Fuller during her tenure.
Naila Ansari (she/her) is an Assistant Professor in Theatre and Africana Studies at Buffalo State College. Her favorite Ujima play is Passing Strange. Ansari is the Dance Director and Company Member for Ujima. Ujima's mission of collective work and responsibility aligns with the work that Ansari creates in advocating for social justice through community and art.
Bob is a retired carpenter and craftsman, formerly employed at Hadley Exhibits. He served on the Board of Directors and currently is Ujima's Technical Director. He has been building sets for Ujima for more than twenty-five years.
Marissa Biondolillo is an actor and a dancer who first came to Ujima Company in 2016 when she auditioned for Free Fred Brown. On top of playing newscaster Gloria Rich, she helps represent Ujima Co. On the Peace, Love, & Power Coalition and has directed the short devised piece, Legacy of Lead. She has performed with several companies across Western and Central New York and is a Meisner trained actor through the Actor’s Workshop of Ithaca. She in honored to be a part of this family and to have worked under the incomparable Lorna C. Hill.
Brian Brown is truly a gifted up and coming artist. He starred in the collaborative production of "Free Fred Brown!" where he played the lead Fred. He also starred in the smash musical hit "Passing Strange" directed by our beloved founder Lorna C. Hill. "All that I've done and will do is due to the brilliant and loving guidance of Lorna C. Hill."
Tuhran Gethers is a proud member of Ujima. His most recent productions were "El Haj Malik" and "Free Fred Brown!" Tuhran is dedicated and very dependable behind the scenes. Several times throughout the week Tuhran can be found in the theater helping Bob with set building or general maintenance. Tuhran also enjoys doing background work on films that come to Buffalo. "I'm here to do the work and continue the legacy of "Big Sis" Lorna C. Hill.tenance
Shanntina began acting with Ujima during 2008's production of "In De Beginnin'." where she played the infamous Snake. Soon after, she became a dedicated Ujima member, serving as both Company and Board Vice President in the past. Shanntina is an award winning actress that has so much to give the "Beloved Community - Lorna C. Hill"
Long standing member of Ujima Theater Company had his theatrical debut with Ujima in 1988 in the musical play Opportunity Please Knock written and directed by Lorna C, Hill. He has performed numerous roles and characters with Ujima and various other theaters throughout the Buffalo community and western New York. A personal favorite was the lead role in the drama Before It Hits Home, by Cheryl L West. One of the first plays to dramatize the African American family dealing with AIDS. He is currently a member and treasure of the theater collective and notes that the company principles of unity and collective work aligns with his own values of family and community responsibility.
Karen Saxon is the 2020 recipient of the Irene Bellamy Black Achievers Award. Her favorite Ujima show is the award-winning production of “Pipeline”. She is a company member and Musical Director. She is responsible for all musical aspects of Ujima shows and for providing musical training to the company members. “My Ujima Theater Company work fulfills my lifelong wish to engage in social justice work. I am beyond proud to join this amazing, committed,
dedicated and TALENTED family!”