Over this unusual year, we invited Joanne Roberts to reflect on her experience as an artist. This blog grew out of a year-long mentorship with Artistic Director Ardith Boxall through the support of Creative Manitoba.
A word from Ardith on the mentorship experience: “This winter, we focused on her new trilogy HOW MUCH FOR TRANQUILITY.
Our time together was spent navigating the world of playwriting- taking a deep dive into all the things that go into shepherding a new play-along its path to the stage – and so much more.
We shared the ongoing highs and lows of this pandemic life. We made use of the chat function on TEAMS a lot! LIKE A LOT. It was like our BAT LINE for everything from emergencies to post-performance debriefs, budget building, the study of labour agreements and for celebration and commiseration. Joanne and I engaged in a deeply organic process – a process of discovery – we developed a relationship. Theatre is built on relationships – and I am reminded that this process cannot be shortened or bypassed.
This is Joanne.
a multi-talented creator
a fierce advocate for a more inclusive and equitable arts industry
a generous collaborator
You are sure to discover all these attributes through the blog, found below, or by checking out Joanne’s website and social media.
Welcome to 365 and doing fine: An Artist Reflects On The Year That Was 2020!
“A year ago, I was an actor. Now, 365-ish days later and a whole other world apart, I think I’m something else. I used to believe that an artist’s life meant continuously hustling for that next job and staying laser-focused as we did so… there’s also much more to it than that.”
“I would put on the Juliet dresses and look at myself in the mirror. Having this literally be my dream role since I saw a live performance in 2005, I thought I’d have a reaction that was very different to the one I was actually having. That is to say, the words, “I don’t belong here.” repeated over and over in my head. “
“I turned thirty. Ahhhhhh, I’m thirty. And thriving. Everyone told me I should have taken the day off to celebrate. I disagreed.”
“My audition was at 9am sharp on a Friday morning. Being typical Joanne (aka not a “homework” kind of actress), I decided to wait until Thursday night to read through the email and double check that I didn’t receive anything to memorize. But what do you know – attached right at the bottom of the email was 4 pages of a script that I’ve had for a week. Whoops.”
“A few months prior, I had written the first draft of a film script about an Asian family. The reception I got from colleagues was lukewarm at best and it didn’t see the light of day ever again. But since, I was chasing after new experiences and I had gone to some writing classes. Was it time to dust off my script and take another leap of faith?”
“During the last year, I’ve had to examine the harsh truths of being an Asian artist in this industry. At the beginning of my career… when I was the only IBPOC artist in the cast, when I played the supporting roles, when I was arguably the token minority, people seemed to accept me with open arms.”
“Throughout my career, I’ve had a big problem with time management. I continue to have a problem. (If y’all could see my to-do list for this weekend, you would see why I want to cry.) The thing with our industry though, is that a lot of it is self-inflicted. Every contract that comes my way is a choice I need to make.”
“Surprise, Goodbye, Hello!…I’ve only physically seen Ardith once this year, but she’s been an integral part of my life for some time now”