Meet Our Board

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Shannon Benil has been involved in Maryland theater for over 30 years. She holds a degree in communications with a concentration in theater from Salisbury University. She is the Vice President of Accounting for Crosby Marketing, an ad agency located in Annapolis, and has been with the company for 20 years. Her first role was with Colonial Players' production of "A Christmas Carol" in 1993, and she has continued performing there since. She has also been a performer, director, stage manager, lighting designer, and choreographer for multiple other theaters in the Annapolis and Baltimore area. 


Susan Flynn enjoyed her career, first in business management and then as an educator. She retired and found herself with the time to support her passions for volunteerism and the arts. Susan was a regular volunteer at Maryland Hall when she noticed the sign on the door for Compass Rose Theater. She introduced herself and soon found herself working on "The Wizard of Oz" production as an usher and front of house. That evolved into costuming and finding props and set pieces for the 2023-2024 season productions. As a board member, Susan looks forward to helping Compass Rose continue to expand its vital role in the Annapolis community. Susan has been a member of the Screen Actors Guild since 2018 and has been in shows on Hulu, Showtime, FX, Apple TV, and Netflix.


Debra Fortier has a long history of community service in Anne Arundel County. She served on the Anne Arundel County Commission for Women for six years, three of those as Board President. She also served on the county Commission on Teen Pregnancy. In 2012, Debra co-founded the Annapolis Film Festival and served as Executive Director until 2015. The film festival is now an established and thriving arts organization in our area. She is pleased to serve the Compass Rose Theater Board as it continues providing excellent, high-quality theater to the Annapolis area and beyond.


Chris Haley is an actor, writer, filmmaker, and Director of Research, Education, and Outreach and the Legacy of Slavery in Maryland at the MD State Archives and The Utopia Film Festival. He is thrilled to link the two main pursuits of his life together, history and the arts. He is co-director of the Capital Region Emmy Nominated documentary, “Unmarked,” on the state of often unknown and under-supported burial sites of free and enslaved African Americans. He was named the 2021 Anne Arundel Arts Council Literary Arts Award Recipient for his many writings, including the poetry collections, “Until the Right One Comes Along,” “Obsessions," "Fists and Rainbows,” and “Your Buddy.” He is currently the narrator and host of the podcast “The People’s Recorder,” on the 1930s Federal Writers Project produced by Spark Media. He is also a board member of Annapolis Pride, the Jake Savage Foundation, and the Annapolis Film Festival. He is the 2024 Society of American Archivists (SAA) Diversity Award Recipient and the 2023 National Park Service Network to Freedom Robert G. Stanton and Wilbur H. Seibert Award Recipient. He is also the 2024 Society of American Archivists (SAA) Diversity Award Recipient for his work promoting and presenting historical research on the Underground Railroad and African American history. He founded the Underground Railroad Legacy of Slavery research program at the Maryland State Archives in 2001. The project has produced online access to over 400,000 entries related to the lives of free and enslaved African Americans who lived before, during, and after the Civil War.


Peter Katz retired from a long career in utility engineering work to return to music and the arts. A tuba player, he taught and has been Principal Tuba with the Londontowne Symphony Orchestra and the Anne Arundel Community College Orchestra and is still active, performing with The River Hill Brass Quintet. In addition to performing music, he is an amateur radio operator and a woodworker. Board experience includes Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, Londontowne Symphony Orchestra, Ballet Theater of Maryland, Providence Center, and Calvert Memorial Hospital.  Compass Rose Theater offers an opportunity to put his experience to work promoting the arts in Annapolis and helping with set building for the Theater.


Ethan Keogh has been involved in the theater since playing Billy in “On Golden Pond” when he was 11. He received a BFA in theater from the College of Santa Fe. He was a professional actor and writer in Los Angeles for almost twenty years on stage and screen and was prolific as a voice actor. Notable roles were as Antony in Shakespeare LA’s production of “Antony and Cleopatra,” Walker in The Playroom’s “Three Days of Rain,” and Austin in Sam Shepard’s "True West.” Ethan was the national voice of Best Buy and The City of Las Vegas on radio and television for years. Ethan is most excited by the shared humanity and human connection that theater can invoke.


Jennifer Kiefer Thomas is a seasoned non-profit professional with over 25 years of experience in fundraising and special events. Her deep-rooted love for live theater developed during her childhood, attending a diverse range of productions, from “The Fantasticks” to “Macbeth,” at her local theater. After graduating from Middlebury College, Jennifer moved to Washington, DC, to pursue a career in arts administration. During her tenure at Ford's Theatre, Jennifer most recently held the position of Deputy Director of Development, where she made significant contributions to the strategic development, planning, and execution of a wide array of events supporting the organization's mission and fundraising efforts. Driven by her lifelong dedication to the theater and her desire to provide similar opportunities for all, Jennifer remains a steadfast advocate for the arts. She is honored to serve on the Board of Directors for Compass Rose Theater.