Toya Lillard, Executive Director
Toya joined viBe as its Executive Director in January 2012, bringing more than 15 years of experience in arts education. She has directed plays, developed curricula, led advocacy efforts and implemented innovative teaching artist training programs both in and out of our city’s schools. As a theater teaching artist, Toya has worked extensively and passionately with teenage girls in New York City. Toya is a native Houstonian from an artistic family who grew up with both theater and music. After graduating from Houston’s prestigious High School for Performing and Visual Arts, Toya attended Vassar College and further developed her interest in arts education, particularly in the use of theatre to help youth address issues relevant to their personal and civic development. Prior to joining viBe, Toya served as Director of School Programs for The New York Philharmonic's Education Department, where she helped to develop its nationally recognized School Partnership Program. In addition to leading viBe, Toya is also an adjunct professor at CUNY CityTech, where she teaches Black Theater. Toya holds a B.A. from Vassar College, and an M.A. from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study.
Mahayana Landowne, Director, viBeSolos & viBeCompany
Mahayana is a New York-based director looking to create work with dramatic visions that transcend daily life. Recent productions include: Under a Scar Filled Sky (Dixon Place) MIXED (Baruch Performing Arts), Impossible Country (Mudbone Collective), Baruch Voices (Baruch), Picasso Project (Luna Stage), Blue. (Vital Theater), Carcass (Diaspora Drama), The Heiress, (The Roundtable Ensemble at the Mint), Machinal (U. of Rochester), Post-Code (American Living Room, HERE), and Terrible Infant (Fringe Festival). Musicals include: Spring Bling, Summer in the Hummer, and The Dick Cheney Holiday Spectacular (Ace of Clubs), Western Unidad (Ice Factory Festival, Ohio Theater), Post-Code (American Living Room, HERE). Favorite past productions include: The Skriker, Antony and Cleopatra, The Seagull, brass logic, Streetcar Named Desire, Obgynt, King Lear, and Mud. Affiliations/ Fellowships include: Drama League 00’, Lincoln Center Director’s Lab 04, Directors Lab West 06, League of Professional Theater Women, Woman’s Project, Second Stage, NYU-BFA Acting and Yale School of Drama, MFA Directing. For more info, check out: yana.landowne.org As a director, she is using her skills to do creative grassroots organizing for social issues including the NYC Dance Parade which brings together over one hundred dance organizations to dance down Broadway, and many art action activities that promote participatory art culture. She also leads workshops in Creativity through Radiant Axis (Radiantaxis.com).
Amirtha Kidambi, Program Manager, viBe Theater Experience
Amirtha holds a B.A. and M.M. in Vocal Performance. As a musician, Amirtha is a composer, vocalist and improviser, playing keyboards and Indian harmonium in several bands and ensembles. Amirtha has performed at venues here and abroad including Carnegie Hall, Roulette, Issue Project Room, Le Poisson Rouge, The Kitchen, and the Whitney Museum. She regularly premieres works by some of the most innovative composers in the world and has received commissions and awards as the bandleader of her Elder Ones Jazz quartet. Amirtha has worked for the experimental performance venue Issue Project Room and has also taught as an Adjunct Professor of Music at Brooklyn College. She is an active educator, teaching lessons in voice and piano, and has been the vocal coach for viBe SongMakers since 2013. She is a fierce activist, using music and art to promote diversity and anti-racism. She has worked with Matana Roberts and many other artists to organize panels, protests and benefits with Musicians Against Police Brutality, to raise awareness and support victims of state violence.
Monique “Orisha Love” Letamendi, viBe SongMakers and viBeStages Program Director
Monique is a “Jane of all trades”. viBe alum of 2008 turned viBe Program Director, Monique uses her creativity and talent outside of the office as a singer, poet, host and writer. Monique has been part of the viBe family since the age of 14, and is humbled to be able to watch young girls grow and progress with the same tools and love that motivated her to be the artist she’s striving to become today. Monique thanks viBe girls for embracing her and allowing her to collaborate with them; she wants to thank viBe Theater Experience for the years of opportunity and guidance. “I am forever grateful to be a part of all of this…”
Ian Fields Stewart, viBeStages and viBeSolos Program Director
Ian Fields Stewart is a black, mixed race, gender-nonconforming storyteller working at the intersection of art and social justice. Their career is dedicated to deconstructing mainstream media forms and rebuilding them to reflect marginalized voices in our local and global communities. By day, Ian works with Girl Be Heard and viBe Theater Experience helping to amplify the voices of young women on issues that affect them. Ian made their acting debut in New York City in the world premiere of Daria Marinelli’s Untameable as the Lady Queen. Since then, Ian has worked consistently in productions at NYC venues such as Manhattan Rep, NYC Fringe Festival ’16, Shapiro Theatre, and more. As a director and choreographer, their work with Girl Be Heard has been seen at NYC organizations, the United Nations, and the Pitchwise Festival in Sarajevo, Bosnia. Past projects include but are not limited to Girl Be Heard’s embodi(ED) which discussed body image and the diet industry and MacRorie Dean’s After which aimed to restructure sexual abuse/rape conversations and policies. Ian also made their Off-Off Broadway playwriting debut as a part of the Judson Arts’s Magic Time Series with their play, A Dying Breed, which is a dystopian examination of gender. Ian can also be seen on Buzzfeed LGBT (“Dressing Beyond the Binary”) and the You Had Me at Black podcast ("Black Cinderella"). When they're not in the theatre, Ian serves on the council of the group @Salon which is a monthly discussion group that invites thought-leaders to introduce LGBTQ-centered topics through personal narrative.
Christal Amadi, Program and Marketing Intern, viBe Theater Experience
My name is Christal Amadi and I am currently completing my senior year as a marketing major at LIM College. I am enjoying my beginning steps in the world of the arts, and I plan to dedicate my future to promoting change within communities through passion, commitment and understanding the needs and concerns of others. I am attracted to opportunities that allow me to combine my love for business and marketing with the exciting world of art. I live for creativity and expression!
Dana Edell, PhD