VANESSA HIDARY Internationally acclaimed Spoken Word Artist/Solo Performer/Author/ Actress/Writer/Director, grew up on Manhattan's culturally diverse Upper West Side. Her experiences as a Sephardic Jew with close friends from different ethnic and religious backgrounds inspired her to write "Culture Bandit" the nationally toured solo show that chronicles Vanessa's coming of age during the golden age of Hip-Hop.
"Culture Bandit" was originally produced by LAByrinth Theatre Company (Artistic directors; Phillip Seymour Hoffman and John Ortiz). It has since played at Nuyorican Poets Café, The Downtown Urban Theater Festival, The Los Angeles Women's Theater Festival, The Hip Hop Theatre Festival, The Revolutions Theatre Festival inAlbuquerque, New Mexico, The Philadelphia Fringe Festival, Makor Arts Center in the “Hip-hop without Borders” festival and The Comedy Central Stage in Los Angeles.
She has aired three times on “Russell Simmons Presents ‘Def Poetry Jam’ on HBO, and is featured in the award winning film "The Tribe" which was selected for the Sundance Film Festival, The Tribeca Film Festival, and The Jewish Motifs International Film Festival in Warsaw, Poland. Vanessa was chosen as one of 50 speakers to appear at the “2010 IdeaCity - Canada's Premiere Meeting of the Minds”. She has appeared at numerous LIMMUD conferences including South Africa and the UK, and has been a featured speaker at the Lion Of Judah conference at the Jewish Federation’s General Assembly convention in New Orleans, and at Tribefest in Las Vegas.
Her popular poem, "The Hebrew Mamita,"went viral garnering over half a million YouTube hits, igniting widespread discussion among Jews and non Jews alike regarding the subject of identity. She has conducted poetry and racism workshops with youth groups such as BBYO, The Yeshiva of Flatbush High school, Congregation B'nai Tikvah Of New Jersey, Harlem School Of The Arts, among others.
Other performances include: Central Park’s Summerstage, NBC’s 9/11 tribute “Concert For America,” B.A.M. Café, Princeton University, Cornell, Syracuse, NYU, U Of Florida, SUNY Purchase, USC and countless other schools around the nation.
Vanessa developed and directed in conjunction with Birthright Israel NEXT, the show "MONOLOGUES": An evening of solo performances by 15 young adults, exploring their Jewish Identity, inspired by a 10-day trip through Israel. Over a two-year period, the show traveled around the United States, engaging thousands along the way.
Inspired by “MONOLOGUES” in July 2015 Vanessa created The Kaleidoscope Project. www.kaleidoscopejews.org, Kaleidoscope is a narrative-arts driven initiative that was sparked by a desire to highlight the stories of Jews of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds, observance levels, and interfaith experiences. In partnership with UJA, the 14th Street Y, and Be'chol Lashon, Kaleidoscope presented the Kaleidoscope Monologue Showcase to sold out audiences over a three-day period in mid-July 2015.
Vanessa received an M.F.A. in Acting from Trinity Rep Theatre Conservatory. She is a member of SAG and AFTRA. She lives in Manhattan, where she published her first collection of poems and stories called “The Last Kaiser Roll in the Bodega.”