Runako Jahi – eta Creative Arts Foundation's Artistic Director is an award-winning director, playwright and actor who has appeared in numerous productions throughout the Midwest, in addition to the New Federal Theater in New York. He is the 1990 recipient of the President's Award from the Boulevard Arts Center; the African American Achievement Award from Columbia College; the Paul Robeson Award from the African American Arts Alliance of Chicago, a Monarch Award recipient for The Arts during its Tribute To Black Men last November, and the recipient of the 2004 Merit Award (for years of contributions to Theater) from The Black Theater Alliance Awards. Mr. Jahi has written several popular plays for youth, including: "A Place To Be Me," "The Positive Evolution of Bongo Baker," "The Reading Machine On Sunnyside Lane," "Kasimu & the Coconut Palm," "Ama & The Magic Toy Box," "Song & Dance: A Celebration of Soul Music From The 60'S To Today" and "What Shall I Tell My Children? The Life of Dr. Margaret Burroughs."
Geraldine (Geri) Williams is a Dunham Technique Instructor presently employed with the Chicago Board of Education. During the time she received her academic education, she was also studying Dunham Technique under Master Instructor, Lucille Ellis. Ms. Williams has also studied with Tommy Gomez and Wilbert Bradley. She has attended an intense three-week Dunham seminar in St. Louis for a number of years. Ms. Williams' award-nominated choreography has been seen in the eta productions of "Why Black Men Play Basketball" and "Eyes" (musical adaptation of Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God), as well in several youth-oriented productions.
Theophilus Reed is a resourceful creative teacher with several years of experience. He is competent in vocal training and knowledgeable in piano/keyboard technique for beginning and intermediate students. He has served as a musical director for several eta mainstage and Showfolk productions.
SONITA L. SURRATT (SLStudio247-The Vocal Instrument For The Actor and Singer) is an award winning classically trained vocalist, playwright, actor, director and a sound designer. She has performed with the Glimmerglass Opera Company, Syracuse Opera Company, the Syracuse Symphony Oratorio Society, toured with Opera in the Hood, an ensemble founded by her, and the Off-Broadway Henry Street Settlement house to mention a few. Her studio clients have been accepted into colleges and universities and have or are advancing professionally in their respective fields of music and theatre. Many are award winners, enjoying supporting and leading role opportunities. Ms. Surratt is a double BTAA award nominee for directing eta’s production of Flow and Dowager Daughter of Transcendence” for Best Sound Design.
CHRISTINE HOUSTON (Playwriting Workshop) is a professional playwright whose original script of 227 became a popular sitcom that ran on network television from 1985 to 1990. The series is still in syndication. Ms. Houston has also written segments for Punky Brewster and The Jeffersons. Her films include: Unshakeable Faith, Let’s Have A Party, and Laughing Through The Tears. Her plays include: 227, Seymour and Shirley, I Love You Nana, Why Can’t I Meet Your Mother?, Hey, It’s Me!, Everyday People (skits for all occasions), and We Care. Her awards include: The Norman Lear Playwriting Award, Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award, and the S. Edmond Randolph Playwriting Award.
Darryl Goodman has been with eta since 1971 and also works as Technical Director of Chicago State University. Mr. Goodman has worked on numerous seasons of productions for eta's Mainstage, Showfolk, tours and special events. His other credits include technical services for Oscar Brown, Jr., The Count Basie Orchestra, Monty Alexander, Piney Woods Gospel Choir, Avery Brooks (Star Trek: The Next Generation), Jim Moody (New York Undercover), Stanley Turrentine and Bernie Mac. Mr. Goodman is the Black Theater Alliance Awards 1995 and 1996 recipient of the Best Lighting Design award for eta's productions of Stoops and The Temple (also a double nominee for his Sound And Lighting design for Anchorman). Mr. Goodman was awarded a Certificate of Accomplishment in Media Arts for Best Documentary, My Community: Pullman District, March 2002, produced by African American TV & Filmmakers (whose Founder/President, Ms. Pattie Thomas, is a former alumnus and theater technician for eta Creative Arts Foundation).