Merri Ann Osborne

 Co-Producing Director (2014-present)

Merri Ann has had the privilege of performing in Japan, the UK and the US as an actor, singer, dancer, voice over artist, improvisational actress and songwriter. Some of her favorite roles include a rapping Puritan in the musical 'Scarlet Letter The Musical' (Los Angeles), various roles in George C. Wolfe's play 'The Colored Museum' (San Jose Stage Company, CA), singing in the parody band 'Fun Chicken' (Osaka, Japan), playing 'Audrey 2' the plant from outer space who just loves to eat earthlings in the musical 'Little Shop of Horrors' (Bradford, UK) and the genetically engineered super human Khan Noonien Singh in a production of Outdoor Trek's 'Space Seed', an episode from the original Star Trek TV show (Seattle, WA).


Through the support of The Mahogany Project, Freehold Theatre and the Central District Forum for Arts and Ideas, Merri Ann directed her first theatrical play, 'Holden on to Family Roots' written by local playwright Linda Holden-Givens as part of the 'Emboldened and Unsung Jazz Heroes of Seattle Jazz' project.


She enjoys collaborating with others and is always looking for an opportunity to flex her creative muscle. Merri Ann thanks everyone for their continued support of all artists who spread their wings to express themselves, often not knowing where they are heading but knowing they have to try to fly. Much Love to Joe, family and friends. 



history

The Mahogany Project is a partner artist organization of Shunpike.


leadership

The Mahogany Project began in June 2006, when seven African-American female artists came together from various disciplines including spoken word, playwriting, vocal performance, and arts administration. Realizing that there weren't many opportunities in the Arts for African-American women, they decided to develop a project that would create more opportunities for them. The women of The Mahogany Project committed to collaborating in hopes of creating opportunities for local Seattle theatre artists. 


Since its inception in 2006, The Mahogany Project has produced and/or partnered in several successful projects including; producing the first week of plays for the 365 Days/365 Plays (Seattle) by Suzan-Lori Parks (11/13/2006), the short play festival 'Who Are We' (2/21-24/2007), an annual partnership with Urban Poverty Forum featuring performers who provide 'Edutainment' on issues that effect our communities. Past performance projects also include partnerships with the City of Seattle Mayor's Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs and BrownBox Theatre ( to create and co-produce an original play in honor of the first city-wide Juneteenth celebration, partnering with), Freehold Theatre and Central District Forum for Arts and Ideas ('The Unsung Heroes of Seattle Jazz'), Festival Sundiata (2016), and the West Coast of premiere of Texas Playwright Jeanette Hill's 'Front Porch Divas' series 'Picking Up the Pieces'.


The Mahogany Project looks forward to continuing its collaboration with artists in order to encourage them to share their stories with the community.  


The Mahogany Project
Live the Experience and Tell the Story


Sandra Boas-DuPree

 Founder/Co-Producing Director (2006 - 2016)

A playwright and director, Sandra also is one of the original founders of The Mahogany Project. A  Seattle native, her artistic lineage starts with her father, the noted jazz pianist Kenny Boas, one of Seattle's celebrated jazz-era musicians. Her play 'Journey from Spruce Street' premiered in the 2007 Mahogany Project's theater festival. In 2015, Sandra wrote and directed the short play         'Jazz Prayer', about the 1940's jazz era in Seattle. The play premiered at Theater Off Jackson as part of the 'Emboldened and Unsung Jazz Heroes of Seattle Jazz' project. Sandra's plays, including 'Sister Fusion' and 'Black Label', challenge simple-minded stereotypical beliefs about African Americans and reveal her family's vanguard confrontation of racist barriers in Seattle.


Robin DaWN

 Co-Producing Director (2014-present)

Robin Dawn has appeared in several independent films as well as on Television (Grimm NBC) and corporate videos (Boeing and Microsoft).

Also a member of Playback Theater Northwest (PTN), Robin Dawn has come to appreciate improvisational theater in a new way. She enjoys performing improvisation stories and giving a voice to the teller. It is so healing for both actor and audience and very empowering. Theater is Robin's first love and she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Washington, School of Drama. Robin Dawn has performed for educational touring companies and worked in community theaters in California, Delaware and Washington while employed as an actor, teaching artist or stage manager.

In addition to performing monthly with PTN, Robin enjoys working with the Mahogany Project to create a platform for other artists to share their talent and to take the opportunity to write and perform new stories that educate and entertain.  This year had the pleasure of being the stage manager and performing the role of Diane Philips during a staged reading of in Front Porch Diva’s “Picking Up The Pieces.”

She also performed an original work (I Am In Debt) during the Annual Women's Program celebration at Highline Community College.​

Tina Ben-Austin 

Co-Producing Director (2014-2016)

Tina’s theatrical career and training began in the  80’s with the Paul Robeson Theater in Seattle,  where she was trained to act, stage manage as   well as costuming. Her acting credits include:   God’s Trombones, The Wiz, Livin black aint easy, but being black sho feels good. Her stage managing and costuming credits include the productions of Wine in the Wilderness and You’ve come a long way baby. After a long hiatus.


Tina returned to a passion she loves almost as much as her family to perform in Journey to Spruce Street as Tia  and also in the dynamic production of Piney Ridge as Bessie.  Above and beyond all Tina’s favorite roles are that of a Child of God, Wife to an amazing husband, Mother to 3 awesome young adults and 1 teenager, a Licensed Cosmetologist and business owner who delights in seeing others feel and look their best inside and out. 


Sharon Nyree Williams

Founder/Producing Director (2006 - 2014)

 

Sharon Nyree Williams, producer, playwright, filmmaker, performer, and poet is originally from Fayetteville, North Carolina and currently resides in Seattle Washington. In 2006, she founded The Mahogany Project in hopes of providing a platform for Black voices through artistic collaborations. 


Sharon stepped down as Producing Director of The Mahogany Project in the fall of 2014. To learn more about what she is currently up to please visit her website, www.sharonnwilliams.com