About this project
Michelle Banks has had the urge to establish this company, Mianba Productions, to content her vision by creatively bringing deaf and hearing worlds together through the entertainment arts. Her vision came to her when she saw the significance to entertain and educate worldwide about the diversity of Deaf culture. Its' mission is to promote the awareness about the Deaf culture and to bridge the gap between Deaf and hearing communities by sharing and exchanging life experiences through the mediums of arts and the creation of artistic expressions.
Mianba Productions has committed to keep the vision alive by proudly presenting a unique show with the combination of poetry, dance, songs, spoken word and many more The show, In Sight and Sound: Live De(a)f Poetry, was conceived by Rick Graham and Michelle Banks to bring the communities together in the heart of Washington, DC area. The show will feature local deaf and hearing artists to perform their talents with poetry, dance, songs, and spoken word. The event will take place at Busboy and Poets at 5331Baltimore Ave, Hyattsville, MD on Sunday, November 11th, 2012 at 8 pm.
In Sight and Sound: Live De(a)f Poetry is one of a kind! The show will be performed and interpreted in American Sign Language and Spoken English.
To make our show a success, please join us in raising funds ($3,000) to help cover production costs such as space & equipment, artists' fees, and publicity. Your donation will make a difference in the artist's lives and our vision. Your support would be greatly appreciated! Our gratitude is unto you like your blessing is unto us!
Below are some examples of the rewards we have for our generous donors:
MICHELLE A. BANKS, a native of Washington, DC, is an award winning actress, writer, director, producer, choreographer, motivational speaker, and teacher. She has TV/movie appearances in SOUL FOOD, GIRLFRIENDS, STRONG MEDICINE, SEE WHAT I’M SAYING, and COMPENSATION. Michelle credits Jadolphus CW Fraser, an independent filmmaker, for introducing her to filmmaking and co-directing his feature debut, ALWAYS CHASING LOVE.
Michelle was chosen as one of 13 actors for NYC’s 2008 ABC Diversity Talent Showcase. She has appeared in plays such as BIG RIVER, FOR COLORED GIRLS WHO HAVE CONSIDERED SUICIDE WHEN THE RAINBOW IS ENUF, and her one-woman show, REFLECTIONS OF A BLACK DEAF WOMAN.
Her other achievements include: Artistic Director of Onyx Theatre Company, sign master for Broadway plays, Arena Stage, and Centerstagae, director for stage plays such as GUYS and DOLLS, A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM, and Z: A CHRISTMAS STORY.
Currently, she is a Company Manager for QUEST: Arts for Everyone, and is working on several projects through her production company, MIANBA LLC.
Richard D. Graham Jr., Executive Producer and show co-host joined the Mianba Productions and adopted Michelle’s idea of live performance art with hearing and deaf artists making it his dream as well. Richard has been writing since his adolescent youth, yet has never performed his work before a live audience. Richard is also a veteran of the United States Marine Corps. and the Persian Gulf War as well as what many would call a hard core biker all of which are motivations in his writing. He is also a published author in Vertikal Magazine with articles on the biker lifestyle.
Richard is also working on a solo live theatrical project of his own to be produced early next year which he will perform and an independent film with Michelle about their life together.
Risks and challenges
Our greatest challenge is combining the deaf and hearing worlds into one show that all people can enjoy. An example of this is an up and coming hip hop artist from the DC area who is hearing will be performing songs with another artist who is deaf and performs in American Sign Language on stage simultaneously. Another challenge is working with interpreters so that when deaf poets take the stage the interpreter shows the feelings that the artist is expressing in the sound of their voice. Once we know if our project is funded we will have a short window of opportunity in which to rehearse and make final adjustments to line up, etc. and of course one obvious challenge will be the communication barrier that everyone will need to work through between hearing and deaf artists in order to perform together.
What makes Richard and Michelle qualified to take these challenges and overcome them? Richard has been writing poetry for years and this is one of his dreams and is taking production of this project very seriously. Being a Marine Corps. veteran Richard knows how to complete a mission and knows how to motivate people to help him complete his mission. Michelle has been an actress, writer, producer and director of stage work for many years, some of her credits are television UPN's Girlfriends, Showtime's original series Soul Food, Lifetime's Strong Medicine, stage productions Big River, For Colored Girls and her own production Reflections of a Deaf Black Woman, as well as many directorial productions. Together they know that they can overcome any challenge and put on an amazing production that all will enjoy and love.
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- (30 days)