Theater Faculty

Shariffa Ali

Shariffa Ali headshot

Photo by Miguel Herrera


Shariffa Chelimo Ali is a creative leader committed to working with an open-heart at the intersection of the performing arts and humanitarianism.

Shariffa has worked at the Public Theater in New York since 2013 where she has served in numerous capacities often piloting new roles that serve her interest in curating radical spaces of hospitality, equity, inclusion, diversity and promoting anti-racism throughout the institution.

As a theater director, Shariffa moves her audiences to engage with timely issues touching upon Black, Afropolitan, and African-American identities. Shariffa has directed and lectured at colleges where her productions have brought many “firsts” to campuses: “first all-female cast and creative team” for her production of Danai Gurira’s Eclipsed at Princeton University; “first all-black ensemble with a director of color” for her production of Dominique Morriseau’s Detroit67; “best attended show” for her production of We are Proud to Present at Yale University.

Shariffa has served as Assistant Director to mentor Cynthia Nixon for Rasheeda Speaking, Steve (The New Group, NY) and Motherstruck! (Culture Project, NY). Shariffa is a member of Black History Museum, a collective of interdisciplinary artists brought together by Here Arts and Smoke & Mirrors Collective.

Shariffa is on advisory committee of Africa’sOut! Founded by renowed visual artist Wangechi Mutu, an initiative geared towards advancing radical change through the power of art and activism, particularly supporting artists, initiatives and institutions from Africa and its Diaspora that celebrate freedom of creative expression.

Shariffa is a graduate of the University of Cape Town’s select Theater and Performance division and holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honors) degree. And perhaps the thing that she is most proud of, is that she was featured in the New York Times Gentleman’s style section for her great taste in fashion.


You Go Girl!, a film by Shariffa Ali, premieres at Sundance in short film competition | Sundance Film Festival 2022

pink square with black woman at center surrounded by flowers and white title textFilm Screening: You Go Girl! — available online Jan. 20, 2022, at 11 a.m. (EST) until Jan. 31 at 1:59 a.m. (EST) through Sundance Film Festival

Hermitage Major Theater Award Winner 2022: Shariffa Ali” | The Hermitage Artist Retreat, May 26, 2022

“Hermitage Announces 2022 Winner Of The Hermitage Major Theater Award” | Broadway World, May 26, 2022

Shariffa Ali Receives Hermitage Major Theater Award” | American Theatre, June 1, 2022



Campus Address

Wallace Dance Building W323
Lewis Arts complex
122 Alexander Street