Short BIO (updated Jan 2017)
Lisa Marie Rollins is playwright, poet, theater director and dramaturg. Most recently she co-directed Young Jean Lee’s The Shipment (Crowded Fire Theater) and a reading of Tearrance Chisholm’s Br’er Cotton (Playwrights Foundation). She is the director of All Atheists are Muslim by Zahra Noorbakhsh and was co-producer of W. Kamau Bell’s “Ending Racism in About and Hour”. Lisa Marie performed her acclaimed solo play, Ungrateful Daughter: One Black Girl’s Story of Being Adopted by a White Family…That Aren’t Celebrities in festivals, universities and academic conferences across the US. She was Poet in Residence at June Jordan’s Poetry for the People at U.C. Berkeley, a CALLALOO Journal London Writing Workshop Fellow and an alumni in Poetry of VONA Writing Workshop. Her writing is published in Other Tongues: Mixed-Race Women Speak Out, River, Blood, Corn Literary Journal, Line/Break, As/Us Literary Journal,The Pacific Review and others. Currently, she is finishing her new manuscript of poems, Compass for which she received the 2016 Mary Tanenbaum Literary Award from SF Foundation. She is also writing on her new play, Token, originally developed in the 2015-16 Just Theater Play Lab in Berkeley. She holds graduate degrees from The Claremont Graduate University and UC Berkeley and is a Lecturer at St Mary’s College in Performance Studies. Lisa Marie is Resident Artist with Crowded Fire Theater and Artist-in-Residence at BRAVA Theater for Women in San Francisco.
Long BIO (not updated yet)
Lisa Marie is a Bay Area (Oakland) based, Black/Filipina writer – playwright, performer, lecturer and one leading voice in transracial/ international adoption education and advocacy. She is currently touring her acclaimed solo show, Ungrateful Daughter: One Black Girls Story of being adopted by a White Family… that aren’t Celebrities, a comedic, but intense look her experience of being adopted by a white family in the 1970′s.
She has performed Ungrateful Daughter in the New York International Fringe Theater Festival, The Los Angeles Women’s Theater Festival, The Atlanta Black Theater Festival, San Francisco Solo Festival, San Francisco Theater Festival, at StageWerx Theater, Off-Market Theatre, The Marsh Theater at Berkeley, The Marsh Theater in SF, The Shelton Theatre, universities and academic conferences across the United States. Ungrateful Daughter was awarded a James Irvine New Works Grant, a Zellerbach Family Foundation and a City of Oakland Cultural Arts Grant. Lisa Marie is the Producing Artistic Director of Third Root Art Collective. Third Root Art Collective is a performing Arts House / Production company that works to support upcoming artists interested in developing innovative work for stage, web & screen. Lisa Marie is the original co-producer of the highly praised “W. Kamau Bell Curve: Ending Racism in About an Hour”, the basis for FX television series, “Totally Biased w W. Kamau Bell”. She Directed “All Atheists are Muslim” by Zahra Noorbakhsh and many other solo performers in the Bay Area. Her most recent projects include a co-production of “A History of the Body”, a new play by Aimee Suzara and Assistant Director / Dramaturg for Idris Goodwin’s “BLACKADEMICS, produced by Crowded Fire Theater Company in San Francisco. She will be joining the creative team for Tearrance Chisholm’s new play, “Hooded, or Being Black for Dummies” as part of the Playwright Foundations 38th Annual Festival.
Lisa Marie has been teaching creative writing, poetry and performance workshops for over ten years. She was the 2010-2011 Poet in Residence at June Jordan’s Poetry for the People at U.C. Berkeley , is a CALLALOO Journal Writing Workshop Fellow and an alumni in Poetry of the VONA Writing Workshop working with Ruth Foreman and Willie Perdomo. She was most recently published in Eye to the Telescope, in the anthology, Other Tongues: Mixed-Race Women Speak Out and River, Blood, Corn – A Literary Journal, As/Us Literary Journal, Line/Break Special Issue on Asian American Adoptee poetry and The Pacific Review and her short chapbook of poems, Splice.. She is currently focused on finishing her new manuscript of poems, tentatively titled, “Anchoring the Compass” and is in the early stages of research for her new play, “TOKEN”. She is currently an Artist in Residence (2015-2016) at BRAVA Theater for Women in San Francisco.
Lisa Marie has been featured as a commentator on CNN, NPR, KPFA Berkeley, KPFK Los Angeles and was given the honor of one of Colorlines Magazine’s “Innovators to Watch” for her social justice work around black adoptees / reproductive justice / international adoption. Lisa Marie was the Adoption Education Specialist for Pact, An Adoption Alliance from 2006-2008 and is currently a regular workshop consultant for OFC – Our Family Coalition in San Francisco, specializing in education for queer parents adopting across race. She regularly blogs for Land of Gazillion Adoptee’s Magazine and for Lost Daughters.
She has been an invited panelist, speaker or performer on a multitude of topics around race and adoption, multi-racial and multi-cultural identification, the politics of inter-country and domestic transracial and same race adoption. Some of her appearances include, Mills College, Stanford University, The Claremont Colleges / Pomona College, UC Berkeley, UC Irvine, CSU San Bernardino, Santa Monica City College, CSU Long Beach, Hampshire College, MIT, The Mixed Roots Film and Literary Festival, Seattle WA’s Central District Forum: “Which Way Seattle”, Oregon State University and UI Urbana-Champaign. She has keynoted for the MSU Conference at UC Berkeley, KAAN conference in Atlanta and MO, American Adoption Congress in 2014, Stanford University and was a recent week-long Artist in Residence at Pomona College in Claremont, CA.
As Founder of AFAAD, Adopted and Fostered Adults of the African Diaspora, Lisa Marie helped build one of the first international organizations to focuses on the needs of adoptees and foster care alumni of African descent. AFAAD provides space for adoptees and foster care alumni to connect, heal from loss, create support networks and advocate around issues concerning domestic and international adoption.
Lisa Marie holds a B.A. in English Literature and Women’s Studies, an M.A. in Cultural Studies focusing in African Diasporic Women’s Literature, an M.A. in African Diaspora Studies from University of California Berkeley. Her future dissertation work will take a cultural studies approach to focus on the construction of black women’s bodies in the discourse of domestic and international adoption, and how these themes emerge in the literatures of the adoption memoir. This work partially examines the concept of diaspora as a useful, healing place for identification for displaced black bodies to assert a kind of (re)location. She has authored “A Birth Project”, a blog focusing on transracial adoption and black diasporic identity and reproductive justice since 2006.
Lisa Marie is available for radio/ tv interviews, speaking engagements, lectures, artist in residence positions, creative writing workshops and full length performances. She is also available for individual creative consultation for theater projects and Skype education sessions for pre and post adoptive families. For more information email her directly. lisamarierollins (at) gmail.com
Some older Press: