by Iyaba Ibo Mandingo

Biographies of Key Personnel


IYABA IBO MANDINGO (Playwright, Performer) - poet, painter, writer, and playwright - is a native of Antigua, West Indies, who came to the United States in 1980 as a young boy.  His earliest exposures to the arts were through his mother, a professional singer, and his grandparents, a tailor and a seamstress who first introduced him to colors and patterns, paving a path to the many ways of expression: drawing, painting, sculpting, writing and performing.  Iyaba studied fine arts at Southern Connecticut State University and today teaches in and around the tri-state area as a Master Teaching Artist. 

Iyaba is a two-time Connecticut Grand Slam champion and in January 2011 won Yale University’s Martin Luther King Birthday Invitational Slam, his seventh such win.  He appears regularly as a performance poet in venues across the United States and abroad, including Nuyorican Poetry Café, Brooklyn Moon, and Next Door Café among others in the NY area and was the keynote performer at the 2011 Westchester, NY Poetry Festival. 

Iyaba was awarded a national Percent for the Arts Program artist grant, as well as grants from the Connecticut Commission on the Arts, and multiple commendations from the Nassau County African American Museum.  His artwork has been included in over a dozen group and individual shows in the tri-state area, most recently at the Culture Project, NYC.  He was recently seen at 59E59 as Henry in Deb Margolin’s The Expenses of Rain (Laura Barnett, director).  He is an Artist in Residence at the New York Theatre Workshop.  He is the author of three chapbooks of poetry, 41 Times, Amerikkan Exile and his latest, 40 days & 40 nites of write.  His new novel, Sins of My Fathers, is available at http://www.iyabarts.com and on eBay.  

unFRAMED is Iyaba’s first full-length play in poetry and prose, during which he uses his canvas to paint his physical portrait while using his words to tell his personal story, a story of an undocumented immigrant boy's journey to manhood through the perils of adolescence, the pitfalls of racism and the challenges of finding identity in his new country.  unFRAMED is winner of the 2011 Excellence in Theatre Award from the DC Black Theatre Festival.  The play has been presented all over the east coast, including at the Railroad Playhouse in Newburgh, soloNOVA Arts Festival, Theatre 80 in NYC as part of the AFO Theater Festival, the Puffin Cultural Forum, as a Spotlight show at the DC Black Theatre Festival; at colleges and universities (York College, NY; Nichols College, MA; University of Baltimore, MD; Rider College, NJ); galleries (Casa Frela, Harlem, Gallery 1212, CT) and the Hudson Valley Writers Center.  Iyaba appeared at the Culture Project as part of 2012 Project Impact.  unFRAMED was a selection of the 2011 Art of Justice Series at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater in NYC and the inaugural AFO Theater Festival at Theatre 80 St. Marks, NYC.


BRENT BUELL (Director and Co-Producer) is president of Doing Life Productions, LLC.  He has taken the directorial helm on work including From Sing Sing to Broadway, which premiered at Playwrights Horizons in NYC; his comedy The Gem Exchange; Rosemary Hester’s You Can’t Leave That There; Wood Bars, which he wrote with Miguel Valentin for the opening of John Buffalo Mailer and Tom Kail’s Back House Productions; and his Las Vegas spectacular, Undone Divas.  He wrote and direc ted The Terrors of Teri, a film for Ohio University, and Goddess Films tapped him to direct its comedy Moses (selected for the 2011 Art of Brooklyn Film Festival) starring Rosie DeSanctis.  Buell has taught at CUNY and for The Working Theater.  He is currently the producer of Pat Blake's new hip hop musical, FREEDOM!, starring Maino and with music by Chi-iLL -- opening in New York in 2014.

For ten years, Buell volunteered with the non-profit organization Rehabilitation Through the Arts, directing theater in New York’s maximum-security prisons.  There his productions of plays, ranging from John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men to three original works by prisoners, have earned praise from critics, including from The New York Times.  His Breakin’ the Mummy’s Code premiered at Sing Sing and was the subject of a feature article in Esquire by bestselling author, John Richardson.  His experiences provided the basis for his chapter “Drama in the Big House” in the book Performing New Lives, Prison Theater by Jonathan Shailor.

An accomplished actor, Buell has appeared in classic roles from Shakespeare and Ibsen to Moliere and Strindberg, and on the big screen in both the hit comedy Grand Opening and the soon to be released controversial thriller Al Qarem.  Mr. Buell received his M.A. from Ohio University where he studied with novelist Herber.t Gold

His novel, the political satire, Rapturous, is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and at http://www.RapturoustheNovel.com.


For more information: http://www.unFRAMEDthePlay.com

To connect on Facebook: http://on.fb.me/IyabaOnFacebook

For booking, contact Brent Buell at Doing Life Productions.  

    Email: unFRAMEDtheEvent@gmail.com

    Phone: 917-613-7979

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