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Asylum Daze Susan Spangenberg at The Living Museum (photo around 1997).jpeg


View my Acting Reel, resume and credits on IMDb, Backstage, and @shylaidris on YouTube

I perform as an actor under the stage name, Shyla Idris. I am a native New Yorker of Trinidadian Indian and German American descent, often taking on racially ambiguous roles. I dreamed of being an actor since I was thirteen years old and started acting in high school plays. I studied acting at The Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute, HB Studio, AND Theatre Co., The Linklater Center in NYC. I also studied at The Patsy Rodenburg Academy and Royal Academy of Dramatic Art online in The UK.

I am the playwright/performer of the solo play, 'RUN. HIDE. BE QUIET.', the director of the documentary short, 'RELEASED' and the author of the asylum photography book, 'Inside Outside'. 'Inside Outside' was on view at the NYC Outsider Art Fair with Fountain House Gallery in 2022 and 2023.

Preview 'Inside Outside' Asylum Photography Book.  Purchase at Fountain House Gallery & Etsy

View full solo play 'RUN. HIDE. BE QUIET.' here

'RUN. HIDE. BE QUIET.' Play Synopsis:

A woman finds herself confined to a seclusion room on an inpatient psychiatric ward. Here she will have to wrestle with her sanity, her family, a dark secret, and her future, if she can get out.

History of 'RUN. HIDE. BE QUIET.'

I started writing my solo play, ‘RUN. HIDE. BE QUIET.’ in 2009 within the confines of a psychiatric hospital, with a crayon. There was a ‘no sharps’ rule. You could hurt yourself or someone else. I would steal crayons, tear papers off walls in the hallway and eventually acquired a pen from the nursing station.

I found solace in walking into the seclusion room as the door remained open one day. The seclusion room was a place I once feared. Now, not being forced in and without the door being locked behind me, I started writing the noise that was in my head.


Performances of 'RUN. HIDE. BE QUIET.'

Full Performance with Downtown Urban Theater Festival at HERE Arts Center, SoHo NYC 2015

Works-In-Progress Full Performance with Artistic New Directions. Directed by Kristine Niven. Shetler Studios, NYC 2014

'Go Solo Festivals' Artistic New Directions Directed by Kristine Niven, Theater 54 2013, 2012

The Hurricane Sandy Relief Benefit at Manhattan Repertory Theatre, Off-Broadway NYC 2012

Check out my Acting Reel & me blurring the lines between being myself and acting in my Acting Out series on my

Shyla Idris YouTube Channel

A Few Favorite Past Performances & Gigs:

I was the main subject of the 1999 HBO documentary feature The Living Museum. I also appeared in an interview promoting film with host Mark Williams for Bravo's 'Ooh La La' Network, until I withdrew from the film, moving to the beat of my own drum. For the record, I got along great with HBO, but decided to pull out of the documentary for personal reasons. I was a member artist with The Living Museum Collective NY from 1995-2001 as an inpatient and outpatient at Creedmoor Psychiatric Center. (Video)

Hosting 'Open Mic Night' at Urban Justice Center for the formerly incarcerated and mentally ill populations, NYC 2015-2016

Writing and Performing Solo Work for Story Telling Event with The Moth, Urban Justice Center NYC 2015

Storytelling at the police academy- training the NYPD in Crisis Intervention on calls with "emotionally disturbed persons", Flushing, NY 2017-2018

Writing and Performing Solo Work for 'Poetry Electric' at La MaMa Theater, SoHo, NYC 2017

Playing the developmentally disabled 'Evelyn' in Theater for The New City's 'The White Blacks'  2020

(My father died two days before opening night. I dedicated these performances to his memory)

Writing and Performing Solo Work for 'Mushroom Storytelling Event' at Fountain House Gallery 2023


Shyla Idris Theater for The New City


Shyla Idris Broadway World

Susan Spangenberg IMDb

'RELEASED' (2014) a documentary short film directed by Susan Spangenberg

Playing and directing myself in 'RELEASED', (2014) an autobiographical documentary short film. Featuring the song I wrote lyrics to and sang, 'I Was Trash When You Met Me'. Video on Shyla Idris YouTube Channel.

'RELEASED' Film Screenings...

2017 Mediterranean Film Festival, Italy

2016 Human Rights Film Festival of Barcelona in NY

2015 REEL Recovery Film Festival Los Angeles, CA and New York City, NYC

2015 South African Recovery Film Festival, Cape Town, South Africa (credited as Shyla Idris)

2015 RELEASED Film Premiere (APA) American Psychological Association Film Festival and Conference Toronto, Canada


SHOP Susan's Art Book 'Inside Outside' at Fountain House Gallery



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