To provide quality resources, space, access, processes and pipelines that allow artists to tell their best stories.
To utilize the dynamic power of storytelling (in all its forms) to reshape the narratives that govern blackness by challenging common beliefs that limit us to race while obscuring the fullness of our humanity.
Art that builds community.
Artist entrepreneurship and ownership.
Art that grows our understanding of the universal through in-depth exploration of the specific.
A distinguished director, dramatist, producer, actor and arts educator, Ms. Abaka has over 20 years of experience in bringing theater to diverse communities throughout Greater Boston. As founder and artistic director of the former Up You Mighty Race Company she produced professional performances and community engagement programming dedicated to the research, preservation and advancement of African American theatrical art forms. Her service to the field also includes; Lead Theater Teaching Artist, Boch Center; Board Member, Boston Children’s Theatre; Community Member, Boston Children’s Chorus Innovation Team; Host Committee Co-chair, Theatre Communications Group National Conference; and Steering Committee Member, Berkshire Leadership Summit. Directing credits include: A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry; Leading from the Affair by Walter Mosley; 365 Days/365 Plays by Suzan-Lori Parks; In the Continuum by Danai Gurira and Nikkole Salter; Fences and Joe Turner’s Come and Gone by August Wilson; Patience of Nantucket by Robert Johnson Jr. and The Emperor Jones by Eugene O’Neil. Ms. Abaka is the recipient of the Boston NAACP Difference Maker Award; the Nathan Cummings Young Leaders of Color Fellowship from the Theatre Communications Group; the Independent Reviewers of New England Award for Best Director and the John Andrew Ross Award for Distinguished Direction from Oscar Micheaux Repertory Company. She is also an associate producer at ArtsEmerson, the professional presenting and producing theatre at Emerson College.
Tasha Mignott is a former actor turned entrepreneur with an eclectic professional background in arts administration, youth development, management and finance spanning 20 years. As a co-founder and chief operations officer for Akiba Abaka Arts, she extends her expertise in leadership and organizational development to the company. As a human being, she brings a commitment to sharing the gifts that artistic and cultural expression afforded her while further affirming their value in the corporate space. Tasha is a first-generation Jamaican American who was raised and currently resides in Boston, Massachusetts. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies with a specialization in Management from Lesley University.
Ms. Neff, a native of Boston, graduated from Emerson College with a BFA in Performing Arts: Acting and trained with Shakespeare & Company. She received her M.Ed. from UMass Boston. She has worked with various theater youth groups including, New Landscapes, Acting Out (programs from the Strand Theatre) and Dream Action Theater in Jamaica Plain. She has worked with Up You Mighty Race and directed their production of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide, When the Rainbow is Enuf. For over 15 years she has worked with Tempest Productions and has toured in their production of Body & Sold, true stories of human trafficking. She also toured in Deanna’s Fund productions of The Yellow Dress and Remote Control and with Underground Railway Theater in their production of Are You Ready My Sister? Her work as a teaching artist grew tremendously with her work through the Wang Center’s theater education programs (2012 EdVestors Teaching Artist; 2007, 2008, 2010 City Spotlights Teaching Artist; 2010 Target Arts Teaching Artist; 2010 Celebrate Musical Theatre Teaching Artist; 2009 Story Saturdays Teaching Artist) She also lent her talents as a teaching artist in the Daniel Beaty program entitled, I Dream, which was produced by ArtsEmerson. Ms. Neff has performed in countless theater productions and has several film credits to her name. She currently teaches theatre within the Boston Public School system and is a co-founder and co-artistic director of Akiba Abaka Arts.
A native of Boston, Anise graduated from Ithaca College with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and minor in Sociology. During her time at Ithaca College she continued her love of dance which she began as a child. Dancing with two dance teams, she enjoyed success when one of her teams entered a dance competition with successful outcomes. Immediately following graduation, Anise embarked on a journey to Costa Rica where she worked as an enrollment advisor for Global Leadership Adventures. Wanting to explore the digital world and content creation, she created a YouTube channel in the fall of 2019, entitled Anise’s Adventures. Her most successful post to date has over 3,000 views. Anise is currently working in a Boston charter school and serves as an Associate Producer for Akiba Abaka Arts.
Consulting Producer 10 Weeks in Jamaica
Kevin Becerra (he/him/his) creates containers for conversation, connection and impact. He currently works as a Creative Producer at ArtsEmerson where he produces and facilitates encounters between artists and audiences. He is an active member of the Latinx Theatre Commons steering committee and an alumnus of the Association of Performing Arts Professionals Emerging Leadership Institute and SPARK Boston. Previous positions include National New Play Network Producer in Residence at Actor’s Express in Atlanta and Allen Lee Hughes New Play Producing Fellow at Arena Stage in Washington, DC. He holds a BFA in Theatre History and Dramaturgy from the University of Arizona.
Co-Curator 10 Weeks in Jamaica
Nadean Rawlins journey as a practitioner in professional theatre started in 1996 with the Jamaican National Pantomime. Since then she has done theatre productions with the University Players’, Basil Dawkins and Father Holung and Friends and most recently Jambiz International. She has been featured in both television series ‘Royal Palm Estate’, ‘Real Friends’ and ‘Mi and Mi Kru 2’ and indie films, ‘Respect the Jeux’ and ‘Destiny’.
Nadean made her debut as a director and producer in 2009 with ‘Miss Burton Gets a Promotion’ for Kingston on the Edge 8×10. She directed and produced Dahlia Harris’ ‘Her Last Cry’, Aston Cooke’s ‘Country Duppy’ and Karl Williams’ ‘The Black That I Am’ that won the Actorboy Award for Best Revue. Rawlins was awarded the Actorboy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 2007, 2011, 2013, 2017 and Best Actress for the lead role in The University Players’ ‘Departure in the Dark’ in 2014.
In 2015 Nadean founded RAW Management a Talent Management Agency and Production Company. She produced and directed her first short film ‘Traytown’ written by Letay Williams in 2020 that was screened at the Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival.
With over 20 years of experience Nadean passionately believes in developing and promoting talents through advancement and international exposure.