Rachel Roberts

theatre-maker

rachel
Roberts

Lauren Orrell Photography, 2018

Lauren Orrell Photography, 2018

HELLO.

I’m a theatre-maker living on gadigal land in sydney, nsw

I create works of theatre, perform as an actor, and make games at the intersection of art and science.
I also study counselling. I’m passionate about understanding disordered eating, body image and body politics.

I try to create sustainable work that engages and empowers, giving audiences tools to interact with the world around them in different ways.

I have worked as a devisor, producer and performer with theatre collective Applespiel since 2009, making works that test dynamic audience relationships, engage in personal stories, and dissect structures of mythology in society.

I have been an associate artist with Boho Interactive since 2012 when I was invited to help create ‘Best Festival Ever’, working in residence with University College London and the London Science Museum’s Dana Centre.

I have been the recipient of an Artstart grant, a Creative Young Stars grant, the Joan Waugh Scholarship, and my work has been supported by the Australia Council for the Arts, ArtsNSW, the NED Foundation, and Marrickville Council. I have completed secondments with The Rabble (VIC) and version 1.0 (NSW).

I am a graduate of the University of Wollongong’s Bachelor of Creative Arts (Performance) course. I am currently studying a Graduate Diploma of Counselling. I also has half a degree in Food & Nutrition from CSU, and a Graduate Diploma of Education.

 

current works

good evidence

In development
A new solo work about pseudoscience.

Sorry, Sorry, Sorry

In development
A new Applespiel work exploring the art of the Youtube apology.

get the kids and run

2017 - present
An interactive game workshop created as a collaboration between Boho Interactive and Earth Observatory Singapore about responding to natural disasters. Development began in 2018, and workshops begin presentation as part of the Singapore Science Centre’s education program in 2019.

everything you ever wanted

2018 - present
"(RACHEL'S) VOICE COMES THROUGH STRONGLY: COMPASSIONATE AND PRAGMATIC, WITH A SATISFYINGLY SHARP BITE." - Audrey Journal, 2018. 
4 STARS.

This show contains discussion of eating disorders.

Exploring the science of dieting, weight loss and disordered eating, the project is a deeply personal undertaking into a touchy subject area. Research and development is supported generously by ArtsNSW, the Joan Waugh Scholarship, and given a helping hand by the Australian Theatre for Young People (ATYP).
The process of recovering from years of chronic dieting introduced Rachel to the work of several dietitians, scientists and psychologists who question whether it is ethical to suggest weight loss to any client, given the evidence that exists around dieting and weight loss (namely, that dieting doesn't work for sustainable weight loss, increases risk of eating disorders, encourages weight cycling and a terrible relationship with food and body). 'Everything You Ever Wanted' explores this research, and how the fear of being fat plays out in our relationships with our bodies and the bodies of others. Joining the voices of the anti-dieters, fat activists and scientists before her, this project aims to examine weight bias and disrupt our relationship with dieting.
This project it supported by the NSW Government through Arts NSW.

Premiered at The Joan, Penrith in March 2018.

Listen here - Podcast for Audrey Journal with Nathan Harrison about 'Back to Back' 2018.

return to escape from woomera

October 2018 - present

Fifteen years ago, a group of Australians made Escape From Woomera: a politically explosive video game that put players in the shoes of a refugee held in immigration detention. 
Applespiel invite you to play Escape from Woomera in this specially commissioned live gaming and performance experience. 
Each night, the artists create a live commentary to accompany the gameplay alongside human rights advocates, refugees and the creators of the original game, exploring the contemporary significance of this cultural intervention.
This is a durational work where audiences are able to enter and leave the space at any time.
Applespiel would like to advise audiences that this work contains both discussion and depiction of the real experiences of refugees in detention, which may be distressing.
This work premiered at Performance Space’s Liveworks festival in October 2018. A percentage of the ticket sales were donated to the Asylum Seekers Centre. 

Read Teresa Tan’s article for ABC Arts here.

jarrod duffy is not dead

2017 - present

Jarrod Duffy Is Not Dead is a devised work by the performance collective Applespiel. Jarrod Duffy was the ninth member of Applespiel, who studies with the group at the University of Wollongong. In October 2010, two weeks before performing an Honours show, he disappeared, leaving behind the furniture at his house and no explanation. Phone, email and facebook yielded no results.
Jarrod Duffy Is Not Dead is the story of that disappearance and Applespiel's hunt to find their missing friend.

Created with support from:
Vitalstatistix's Adhocracy program
HotHouse's 'Month in the Country' residency program

First performed as a development with Merrigong Theatre Company in April 2016, as part of the 'Make it @ Merrigong' program. Realtime review here.

best festival ever

2012 - ongoing

Best Festival Ever is an interactive performance that enhances teamwork and communication, building skills in understanding and managing complex systems. Using hands-on board game mechanisms, participants plan and manage their own music festival. Working together, the audience take control all the way from programming the bands to producing the final concert.
Developed with research scientists from University College London, the Stockholm Resilience Centre and CSIRO, the show explores concepts from Systems Science and Resilience Thinking.
Appropriate for policy-makers, businesses, conferences, management teams, community leaders, arts and festival audiences.

“The ideal mix of a learning experience and team-building - absolutely unique in its approach, and a brilliant alternative to standard corporate away day sessions.”

— Julie Dodd, Zone Creative UK

“Systems science is abstract and can be difficult to communicate. Boho’s work builds well-crafted, entertaining metaphors, bringing these concepts to life for audiences from all walks of life. We sorely need this kind of experience.”

— Dr Nicky Grigg, CSIRO

Katy Green Loughrey, 2018 (Everything You Ever Wanted)

Katy Green Loughrey, 2018 (Everything You Ever Wanted)

At The Request of Carl Sagan, 2015

At The Request of Carl Sagan, 2015

Katy Green Loughrey, 2018 (Everything You Ever Wanted)

Katy Green Loughrey, 2018 (Everything You Ever Wanted)

Sexy new Urban Design Team (2010 - 2015)

Sexy new Urban Design Team (2010 - 2015)

Best Festival Ever

Best Festival Ever

BFE_20160705-814_HiRes.jpg
Democratic Nature Photo 1.jpg
Katy Green Loughrey, 2018 (Everything You Ever Wanted)

Katy Green Loughrey, 2018 (Everything You Ever Wanted)

Artist Olympics, You Are Here Festival

Artist Olympics, You Are Here Festival

Sarah Walker, Kill Climate Deniers (Radio Edit)

Sarah Walker, Kill Climate Deniers (Radio Edit)

reviews and nice words

CASSIE TONGUE, audrey journal on ‘everything you ever wanted’, 2018

“She is captivating … both in her performance and her cadence, and her show cuts to the heart of a deep social problem. Through Roberts, we too feel validated, normalised, and seen … Taken together, these two works are a sophisticated, compelling double bill of theatre for change and self-growth. There’s power in knowing where the personal and social problems we face have come from, and by placing them in a broader historical context, rooted in fact and facing toward the future, the playwrights are offering us a vital piece of hope. Not solutions to these problems – but instead, new ways of thinking that will help us move forward, past shame or confusion and into vital clarity.”

Lauren Carroll Harris, Realtime on ‘stations of the southern cross’ 2013 

“Applespiel do indeed turn their narratives inside out, but their childlike humour, sincerity and perceptiveness endear rather than alienate them from their audiences, whom they clearly regard with the utmost intelligence. Applespiel seem to really know what they’re doing. This latest smart, self-assured, formally inventive work cements the troupe as true cultural innovators”  

Tabi Jackson Gee, Melbourne Arts Club on ‘at the request of carl sagan’, 2012

"The highlight was undoubtedly At the request of Carl Sagan, an improvised tour of space craftily composed by contemporary performers Applespiel… if you have the remotest interest in the Final Frontier, or perhaps just a penchant for obscure theatricals, this tour is highly recommended"

Dee Jefferson, The Brag 2012

“Applespiel are young, whip-smart, tirelessly creative, and will no doubt be causing a ruckus for quite some time. 
 As with Snail Piece (Underbelly Arts Festival 2010), Applespiel have matched a playful concept with rigorous thought, meticulous preparation, and professional execution. More please!”

Alena Titterton, Partner, Clyde & Co on ‘best festival ever’ 2016

"Boho opened the eyes of our corporate clients to the possibilities in presenting concepts like resilience, complexity and systems thinking in a hands-on and participatory approach. As senior safety executives with sophisticated systems, Best Festival Ever gave them a new way to think about engagement with their executives and their workforce on matters like safety in design and emergency management. Sparking ongoing positive conversations between attendees, we highly recommend it." 

Kathryn Kelly, Realtime on ‘jarrod duffy is not dead’ 2017

Exploring the mythos of their own beginning...the pros and cons of this invasion and the framing of this deliciously voyeuristic conundrum are explored with theatrical precision par excellence..."

Kate Britton, FBi Radio 2011 

“Applespiel’s star has been on the rise. Show after hilarious show, they’ve crept into our hearts, and it just keeps getting better.”

Peter Wilkins on ‘best festival ever’, 2015

“The creative force of Boho Interactive in collaboration with Applespiel should be a regular feature in every science classroom. This is what makes learning fun!”

 

EDUCATION

University of Wollongong, 2007-2009
Bachelor of Creative Arts (Performance)

University of Notre Dame, 2010-2011
Graduate Diploma of Secondary Education

Australian College of Applied Psychology, 2018-ongoing
Graduate Diploma of Counselling

Contact

agent: natalie duarte,
focus talent management
02 8323 6677
natalie@focustalentmanagement.com

 

grants and awards

ArtStart (Australia Council)
Creative Young Star (NSW State Government)
ArtsNSW project funding for ‘Everything You Ever Wanted’
Australia Council project funding for ‘Best Festival Ever’ and ‘Applespiel Make A Band and Take On the Recording Industry’
The Joan Waugh Scholarship for development of ‘Everything You Ever Wanted’
The NED Foundation funding for development of ‘Everything You Ever Wanted’

 

artist-in-residence

Cain and Abel April/May 2014, Devising Secondment with The Rabble, Belvoir Theatre.

The DANA Centre of the London Science Museum, 2014, for the development and presentation of Best Festival Ever.

Miljoverkstan, Sweden for Best Festival Ever, 2016.

QLab at The Joan, Penrith 2017.

Battersea Arts Centre, 2012, for the development and presentation of Best Festival Ever.

University College London, 2012, for the research and development of Best Festival Ever

A Distressing Scenario, 2011, Devising and Arts Management Secondment with version 1.0, Belvoir Theatre

Artslab, Artist-in-Residence program at Shopfront Contemporary Arts & Performance, 2011.

Best Festival Ever, Artist-in-Residence at University College London's Environment Institute, 2012.

Past works

PAST WORKS

Rachel has been creating work in Australia and Internationally since 2010. Find here a comprehensive list of every little performance thing she’s ever been paid (or not paid) for. Some of these works may be revived in the future for touring, or further development.

AT THE REQUEST OF CARL SAGAN

Applespiel believe that we should commit ourselves to achieving the goal, before the decade is out, of sending someone to the stars and returning them safely to the earth. No single space-related arts project will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space-based theatre, and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish.
Take a journey into the known and unknown. An interactive audio adventure, led through a reimagined gallery space by a real* astronaut. Audience undertake individual journeys of reflection, creativity and imagination before returning to earth and sharing their discoveries.

At The Request Of Carl Sagan was developed for Next Wave Festival 2012, as part of special international project "Wake Up And Watch The Sun Rise: 500 Methods For A New Beginning".

"The highlight was undoubtedly At the request of Carl Sagan, an improvised tour of space craftily composed by contemporary performers Applespiel… if you have the remotest interest in the Final Frontier, or perhaps just a penchant for obscure theatricals, this tour is highly recommended"
-
Tabi Jackson Gee, Melbourne Arts Club

APPLESPIEL MAKE A BAND AND TAKE ON THE RECORDING INDUSTRY

Applespiel turn themselves into an earnest and dedicated rock band, documenting the process of making, marketing and performing an album. The result is an artwork, which is part theatre show, part live ‘rockumentary,’ and part rock concert. Developed in partnership with Performance Space in 2012, performed as part of the Helium program at Malthouse Theatre in 2015.

“Applespiel are young, whip-smart, tirelessly creative, and will no doubt be causing a ruckus for quite some time. As with Snail Piece (Underbelly Arts Festival 2010), Applespiel have matched a playful concept with rigorous thought, meticulous preparation, and professional execution. More please!”
- Dee Jefferson, The Brag

DEMOCRATIC NATURE

Democratic Nature underwent development in 2016 - a partnership between Boho Interactive, Miljöverkstan (Swedish NGO) and partners in environmental management, governance and education.

Here's a blog post by Rachel about working in Stockholm

HECTORING APOCALYPTICA

Underbelly Arts Festival, 2015
Crack Theatre Festival, 2015
In the coming decades, we are going to experience a gradual but undeniable shortage of clean water. In a recent report the UN predicted a 40% shortfall in the world's water supply by 2030. How are we going to deal with this? The way we use water is full of complexities and contradictions, but how do we manage this problem? Is there a backup plan? Hectoring Apocalyptica is an interactive performance. They don't have the answers. They don't even really have all the questions. But they're making a show about it.
By Nathan Harrison, Emma McManus, Jacob Pember and Rachel Roberts

LIST OF PAST WORKS

2018
Return to Escape from Woomera, Performance Space
Grab the Kids and Run, Singapore
Everything You Ever Wanted, Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre, Penrith
2017
Best Festival Ever, Boho Interactive, Shanghai and Sydney
Everything You Ever Wanted, Qlab development
2016

Kill Climate Deniers (Radio Edit), David Finnigan
Best Festival Ever, Boho Interactive, Melbourne, Sweden and London
Democratic Nature, Sweden, development
Everything You Ever Wanted, ArtsNSW and ATYP development  
2015
Best Festival Ever, The Street Theatre, Canberra 12-22 August 2015.
Hectoring Apocalyptica, Underbelly Arts Festival, August 2015 and Crack Theatre Festival, October 2015                  
In Pursuit of Excellence: A Telethon for Excellence, PACT Centre for Emerging Artists, July 2015.
Orfeo ed Euridice, March 2015, Dir. Shannon Murphy, Spectrum Now Festival  
2014
Best Festival Ever 2014, London Science Museum (UK) and Stockholm Resilience Centre (Sweden)
Pink Bits February 2014, Produced by Lauren Orrel  
2013
Titus Andronicus Sept 2013, Dir. Caitlin Scarr. Cafe Church, Glebe.
Frankenstien June 2013, Dir. Joel Harrison. The Kings Theatre, Parramatta.
Timon of Athens April 2013, Dir. Erica Brennan, Old 505.
Best Festival Ever (formerly Modelling Play), development at Artshouse.
Stations of the Southern Cross, July 2013, Underbelly Arts Festival
You're Invisible, Nov-Dec 2011, Village Bizarre
Applespiel Go Back in Time to Save Performance Space and Christmas, Nov 2013, Performance Space  
2012
Modelling Play (working title, by David Finnigan), development of script through workshops with final performances in Nov 2012.
Applespiel Make a Band and Take on the Recording Industry, July 2012, Performance Space  
2011
Ile and Moondirt (by David Finnigan) Sept 2011 Workshop Development.
Applespiel Take On a Classic, Feb 2011, Griffin Theatre Company (Griffringe)
Executive Stress/Corporate Retreat, May 2011, Tiny Stadiums Festival
Snail Piece, Oct 2011, Festival of Dangerous Ideas
Don't Call Us, We'll Call You, Late Night Library
Awful Literature is Still Literature I Guess, July-Dec 2011, Underbelly Arts Lab, Crack Theatre
Festival, Late Night Libraries, Markets by Moonlight, NovemberISM.  
2010
National Youth Theatre Company June-Sept 2010 Performer
Sexy New Urban Design Team...2010, Tiny Stadiums Festival, You Are Here Festival, Festival of Unpopular Culture.
Appleloft, Sept 2010, Sydney Fringe Festival
Snail Piece, Underbelly Arts Festival
Applespiel's Morning Commercial Breakfast Radio Show, Oct 2010, Crack Theatre Festival
Applespiel are Actors and You Can Be Too Maybe, Oct 2010, Performance Space

University of Wollongong performances 
Angels in America - Harper - Dir. Chris Ryan
Attempts on Her Life - Ensemble - Dir. Sanja Simic
Arabian Nights - Scheherazade - Dir. Tim Maddock
Tilt - Prison Guard - Dir. Cath McKinnon
Drowned World - Tara - Dir. Sanja Simic
Everyone and No One - Ensemble - Dir. Chris Ryan
Titus Andronicus - Tamora - Dir. Tim Maddock

Training
Bryony Kimmings, Performance Practice Workshop 2017
SSAG screen acting classes, 2014 - 2016
Audition Masterclass – National Youth Theatre UK, October 2012.
European Greats – Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, September 2012
Advanced Screen Acting – The Saturday Acting Academy, September 2012.
Acting Showreel Masterclass – London Academy of Media, Film and Television, September 2012.
National Youth Theatre of Australia – Senior Ensemble, 2010.
Bachelor of Creative Arts (Performance) – University of Wollongong, 2007-2009