Marissa Rae Roberts
Boston Conservatory alumna Marissa Rae Roberts wants to change how you think about theater. As cofounder and co-artistic director of ToUch Performance Art, Roberts is rethinking how audiences approach—and are approached by—the performing arts.
“Artistically, my goal isn’t for people to love everything about my work. I want to get people to talk about it and have an opinion about it,” Roberts said. ToUch Performance Art, a production company based in Boston, is dedicated to the creation and production of artistic works and immersive experiences, allowing audiences to see theater in a personal, interactive way.
“I want my work to always allow the audience to feel that they are a part of the experience, rather than an outsider looking in,” explained Roberts. “I think this style of performance breaks down a barrier for those who don’t attend theater often and makes it more accessible.”
The most recent production by ToUch Performance Art, AcousticaElectronica, blends elements of electronic and classical music, dance, circus arts, and immersive theater with the infectious energy of a nightclub, sending the audience on an interactive journey that stimulates the senses. The performance takes place all around the audience, which results in a visceral experience, rather than the expected roles of actor and audience in a traditional play.
“AcousticaElectronica is about relating to what the performers are going through and exploring your emotional response to it. The goal is for the audience to interpret the show in their own way through the lenses of their own personal experience.”
Roberts always knew that she wanted to have a career in the arts, but she wasn’t always sure about how she was going to achieve it. She believes her time at Boston Conservatory taught her how to create a meaningful performance and gave her the opportunity to hone her skills outside of the classroom.
“I had great relationships with the incredible faculty and extremely talented students,” Roberts said. “I’ve had the opportunity to gain knowledge and experience from them, collaborate with and direct them, and, most importantly, grow as an artist.”
Roberts currently travels with ToUch Performance Art throughout the Northeast, teaches in Boston, and works as a performer.