Darnell Pierre Benjamin
Darnell Pierre Benjamin has been a professional performing artist, director, choreographer, educator, and activist for about 15 years, now. Beginning with dance, Darnell started exploring the world of movement at 14 after a visit to a therapist turned into a lifetime commitment to mental and physical health.
Darnell attended University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and earned a BFA in Performing Arts. Following undergrad, Darnell attended University of Houston, and earned his MFA in Classical Theatre Performance, with an emphasis in Shakespeare.
Since 2010, Darnell has become an Associate Artist and Resident Ensemble Member with Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, where he works as an actor, choreographer, and director in the season's offerings. He’s performed in and been on the creative team of over 30 productions with the company. In addition, Darnell regularly works in Cincinnati's arts scene in all capacities as a proud Actor’s Equity Association member.
When not performing, Darnell works as a teaching artist and adjunct professor. For eight years, Darnell has led students at Seven Hills Middle School through understanding Shakespeare over the course of a two month residency. Since 2011, he’s worked with local dance group, Pones, as both an educator and board member, where he leads inner-city students of all ages through using the arts as a vehicle for social change. Most recently, Darnell has also joined the board of Stop the Stigma Productions, a company based in Cincinnati that spreads awareness about mental health through song and storytelling.
Darnell has led countless workshops and discussions on how the arts and activism work hand in hand. He is the co-producer of a successful, annual cabaret that donates to local LGBTQ organizations aimed at education; companies, like PFLAG and Proud Scholars, have benefited in the past. For a year, he helped start up the company, HIVAINTTHEBOSSOFME, which helped provide access and resources to individuals living with HIV through nights of storytelling and education. Darnell has also led discussions about mental health through the organization 1n5, which is working to educate and empower individuals living with mental health challenges.