Actor | Community Leader | Drama Therapist | Mentor | Motivational Speaker | Father
Shabaya Clark is a teacher, father, mentor, professionally trained actor, and motivational speaker, who has produced, directed and starred in three plays at The New Federal Theatre (which launched the careers of legendary actors Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Samuel L. Jackson, and others), The Black Box Theatre and regional theatres across the east coast. His most notable roles include “Troy” in FENCES, “Major Charles Moses” in Tuskegee Airmen and “Slade” in Reflections. Clark has also been featured in numerous film shorts and music videos, most notably DeLooze “Lost Army” and “Dedicated.”
“Acting saved my life,” says Clark, who grew up in the crime-ridden Harlem, NY neighborhood of the 80s; Poverty, gun violence and drug addiction were common place. As a child with 9 siblings in a dysfunctional household, Clark was in and out of group homes, often on the streets, and struggled daily to survive.
At the age of 13, Clark was placed into Children’s Village, a non-profit residential facility, dedicated to providing homeless and at-risk young people life skills and pathways out of poverty. At Children’s Village, Clark became an avid watcher, collector and fan of films. Clark excelled at Children’s Village and Greenburgh Eleven public school, where he was the salutatorian. He would then attend and graduate from Nyack High School.
An Acting 101 class at Rockland Community College would launch Clark’s acting career. At college, Clark was invited to the dress rehearsal for a little known play, “God’s at War.” While in the audience, Clark fell in love with acting. He would then discover how acting can serve as a mechanism for coping with hardship and difficult life circumstances, “Acting allows you to be free and be somebody else. To go from nothing and create something,” says Clark.
Twenty years later, Clark has decided to focus his attention on teaching at-risk young people how they can use drama and acting to free themselves, transform their lives and make progressive and positive choices. Clark returns to Greenburgh Eleven at the start of the 2018 school year to teach his cornerstone “DRAMA FREE!” Theatre Arts and Education Program. “If I can save one kid, that’s all that matters. It’s not just about me anymore,” says Clark.