Karen Lee Roberts

Karen Lee Roberts is a performer/ writer/ singer living with and surviving bi polar disorder. Her art work aims to convey social and emotional messages to her audience on prevalent topics, and trying to educate whilst entertaining.

She has performed extensively in Australia and overseas including acting and singing at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre in Sherwoodstock, performing in the West End musical Hair at the Old Vic Theatre in London, and singing her original works in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. She has also been part of festivals in Australia including the Brisbane Festival, Fete de la Musique and the Festival of Sydney.

In 2013 Karen joined Performing Detention, a residency piece at the Metro arts Theatre, performing at the Brisbane Powerhouse. Later she was accepted into the QPAC Choir and performed with them from 2013 until 2015. During 2014 she worked with OzFrank Theatre Company and the Villanova Players.

Her first children’s book, The Big Pineapple, was published in 1996 though Boolarong Press, and her second children’s book, Wilbur the Optical Whale, published in 2016 through Amazon. Karen has written several other children’s books, and recently developed Wilbur the Optical Whale into a theatrical show which won two awards at the 2020 Adelaide Fringe Festival.

During 2015 she performed a self-written cabaret, It’s Not Easy Being Green (now titled Chameleon), at the Queensland Theatre Company, and travelled to Hawaii to perform and speak at the 2015 Pacific Rim International Conference for Disability and Diversity.

Later in 2015 she joined indelabilityarts and co-created the show Look Mum, No Hands, which was first performed at the Turbine Studio, Brisbane Powerhouse.

Karen & Jeff perform Chameleon at Adelaide Fringe.

For 2016 Karen performed with indelabilityarts at the Powerhouse and La Boite Theatre, performed in the production of Five Women Wearing the Same Dress with the Villanova Players, and performed her cabaret It’s Not Easy Being Green at Room to Play.

In 2017 she performed Look Mum, No Hands at the Gold Coast Arts Centre, and her cabaret at the Anywhere Theatre Festival. She also co-created and performed a schools tour show, Love Me, with indelibilityarts at RPAC and SUNPAC.

indelabilityarts performing Look Mum, No Hands at HOTA

At the start of 2018 she travelled to the Adelaide Fringe Festival to perform her cabaret, and to perform Look Mum, No Hands with indelabilityarts. She performed with Restless Theatre Company at the Bleach Festival for the Commonwealth Games. This show won a Helpmann Award. Karen also staged her cabaret in the Anywhere Theatre Festival on the Sunshine Coast.

For the remainder of 2018 she performed with indelabilityarts during a tour of regional Queensland, staging Look Mum, No Hands and Love Me.

In 2019 indelabilityarts went into rehearsal for Wilbur the Optical Whale with Flipside Circus. They performed a showing at the Judith Wright Centre in August, and another in December at Flipside. Karen also staged her cabaret Chameleon to audiences in Melbourne at the Butterfly Club and at the Arts Ablaze Festival in Kooralbyn Valley.

Cast and crew of Wilbur the Optical Whale

In 2020 indelabilityarts travelled to Adelaide to perform Wilbur in the Adelaide Fringe Festival to sold out shows. Wilbur won two Adelaide Fringe Festival Theatre Awards. Karen also live streamed two jazz gigs and Chameleon during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Through ArTour in July 2021 indelabilityarts toured far north Queensland with Wilbur performing four shows to the local audiences. They also performed Wilbur in September at the Brisbane Festival to sold out audiences of delighted children, and similarly in October at a season at RPAC. Karen also received the 2021 Access Arts Achievement Award to develop her show Sex & Other Philosophies with Lucinda Shaw and James Halloran.

In 2022 Chameleon and Wilbur again went to the Adelaide Fringe Festival. Wilbur then won a Matilda Award for Best Independent Production. Wilbur then toured regional Queensland and played Ipswich, Wynnum and Pip Theatre.

Sex & Other Philosophies had it’s premiere at Pip Theatre in November to audiences who were blown away, to say the least.

Karen has also done various MC’ing events around Brisbane as different characters, and shot two QLD Government short films for disability, one of which, The No Pile, won several awards.