Sabrina Mandell was born in Nova Scotia, Canada, the daughter of visual artists. She grew up on the Bay of Fundy known for having the highest tidal range in the world, constant wind and frequent power outages. As a child her family lit kerosene lamps and had a small sustenance farm. Her imagination was fueled by the dramatic landscape, victorian ghosts, and rural culture. The family moved to Montréal and Sabrina's adolescence was immersed in the art of that city. She briefly attended university, began to write poetry, compete in Poetry Slams, and do Theatre. Eventually she spent several years working on traditionally rigged schooners, sailing up and down the East coast of the United States as a licensed First Mate. She stopped for a spell in Charleston SC to study Art History and began to paint.
In 2006 she founded Happenstance Theater. As Artistic Co-director she has written, produced and performed prolifically since the company’s founding . As the company's manager she has secured grant support and guided the business for a successful 10 years. As the Costume Designer, she has been nominated three times and won two Helen Hayes Awards, for IMPOSSIBLE! A Happenstance Circus and MOXIE: A Happenstance Vaudeville.
Sabrina performed for 10 years with the Big Apple Circus’ Clown Care Program in DC and Baltimore. She has also taught Theatrical Clown and Physical Comedy at the Shakespeare Theatre, Everyman Theatre in Baltimore, Round House Theatre, St. Mary's College, Grinnell College, Duke Ellington School of the Arts, and the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.