Marissa Rae Roberts is a multidisciplinary performing artist and creative entrepreneur.
As a director and creator, Roberts focuses on multidisciplinary experiences that break the boundaries of traditional theater. Her work has appeared in theaters, night clubs, festivals, art galleries, and on the streets of Boston and New York City. In 2011, she co-founded ToUch Performance Art where she serves as the co-artistic director and produces original work all over New England and in New York City. ToUch Performance Art served as Artist in Residence at the American Repertory Theater’s OBERON from 2013-2016. Roberts has directed and created shows such as AcousticaElectronica, Sexyback: or What You Will, and Searching for Signal. Other directing work includes associate resident director of The Donkey Show (American Repertory Theater- Dir. Diane Paulus, 2012).
Roberts has a passion for creative entrepreneurship and helping artists hone their business skills. In 2013, she co-founded her second company, ToUch Events, LLC, focusing on creating customized event entertainment. ToUch Events has created events for clients such as The Boston Lyric Opera, The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and Trevor Project, as well as performed along side artists such as Elton John, Tony Bennett, and Meghan Hilty.
As an actor, she works consistently on stage and screen. Roberts has performed in Boston staple shows such as Shear Madness, The Donkey Show (American Repertory Theater- Dir. Diane Paulus) for over 5 years taking on 3 different roles, and the U.S. premier of Sh*t-faced Shakespeare productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Helena) and Much Ado About Nothing (Beatrice). On screen, Roberts focuses on commercial work and is currently represented by Model Club, INC. She has worked with clients such as Wayfair, Capitol One, Honey Dew Donuts, and NuRoo Baby for Target.
Where are you from?
Where do you live/work?
I live in Somerville, MA. I work all over Boston and occasionally travel to NYC for work as well.
What fuels your desire to act/create?
The opportunity to experience new things and discover new pieces of myself; then bring that experience to an audience.
The best thing about being an artist is...
Never ending possibilities.
The biggest obstacle in working with self is?
The need for perfection and self doubt.
What advice you would give self at the very beginning of your training and professional career?
Enjoy the moment, be patient, and keep working hard. It will happen, it just might not unfold the way you expected.
Are there any strategies/rituals you created to help self in times when working feels difficult, when you feel stuck?
I love doing evocative research. Looking at visual art, reading a new book, going to a museum, or even just on a walk. Typically when I am feeling stuck; I need to be patient, take some time away from what I am working on, and let inspiration strike naturally.
Talk about a piece of work, you experienced recently that moved you and how it found its place in your work?
This presidential election has really made an effect on me, as it has with many others. In the Fall, I devised and directed a piece called Proclamation: Borders and Boundaries at the American Repertory Theater. I was working with a group of 9 high school students that were so smart and aware of what is happening in our world, however they could not vote. We created a piece where their voice could be heard even though they weren't 18. I hope to continue to make work that is inspired by social change.
What other art form do you connect to? How does this craft/discipline help you in your work?
I love to paint. I create abstract works and they often connect to what emotions I am feeling at the time. I occasionally paint a story from a characters perspective. Similar to how people speak of dance and music expressing emotions when words fail them, I relate that to painting.
Describe a productive day at work?
I love waking up and having some time to myself. I like to read a bit with a cup of coffee before I start the day. I also love to exercise in the morning. It gives me more energy and clears my mind at the same time. I am a big list maker but sometimes an overachiever, so if I can accomplish almost everything on my list and get through my inbox, I feel very productive. A productive day for me equals a step closer towards a goal.
What is important for you to teach your students?
To be versatile, well rounded artists and to remember the world is small and every experience counts towards your future.
How do you reward self for a job well done?
I love the little things: cooking a good meal, having a nice bottle of wine, and some Netflix & couch time. However, the most rewarding thing to me is to share my good work with others.
In 2016, SUPER SPACE is serving as a vehicle to facilitate Created to Create Project.
CREATED TO CREATE
INTRODUCING ONE ARTIST PER WEEK, FOR 52 WEEKS IN 2016.
Beginning, January, 1st, 2016
ACTORS, ARTISTS, THEATRE MAKERS, FILM MAKERS, DESIGNERS, TEACHING ARTISTS, STUDENTS all chosen because they spend a part each day creating. Artists will be chosen in no particular order.
Introduce artists from different parts of the world. People who use different mediums and whose practice is at a different skill level. A thing they all have in common is unique sense of style and self-expression.