Other, Performing Arts, Visual Arts
MSAC Individual Artist Award (IAA)2020
Artist StatementI am interested in cultivating hope by creating whimsical, theatrical works that acknowledge mortality and encourage play and the use of imagination as a tool for overcoming malaise and despair. Using physical comedy, theatrical clown, elevated text and universal themes that connect us in our humanity - suffering, joy, fear, death, love, humor - the applicant creates highly visual and poetic pieces that prioritize accessibility and audience inclusion. The applicant makes work that can act as a salve for the reality of our short and uncertain lives.
Sabrina Mandell grew up in Nova Scotia beside 40 foot tides. Her family moved to Montreal where she began devising theatre with Children's Creations under the direction of Clare Schapiro. Sabrina spent much of her twenties working on traditionally rigged schooners. She stopped for a spell to study Art History and created the solo street performance VentDeLaMer in which she dressed in 18th century costume and recited original poetry, sang songs and performed classical monologues. She studied the Lecoq pedagogy with Dody Disanto at the Centre for Movement Theatre. Then in 2006 she founded Happenstance Theater. As the company's Artistic Co-Director and Visionary Tornado she has written, produced and performed prolifically since the company was established. She was nominated for a Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Actress in 2017. As the company's Executive Director she has created and maintained a sustainable structure for operating the organization, and as the costume designer she has won two Helen Hayes Awards for Outstanding Costume Design. Sabrina performed for 10 years with the Big Apple Circus’ Clown Care Program in DC and Baltimore. She has also taught Theatrical Clown and Physical Comedy in a variety of places including at the Shakespeare Theatre, Everyman Theatre in Baltimore, Round House Theatre, Duke Ellington School of the Arts, and the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. She is also a visual artist, graphic designer and poet.