Roberta Gasbarre

 With more than 35 years in the field of educational theatre, Roberta Gasbarre is recognized as a leader incultural and arts-based learning. A Fulbright Scholar whose primary interest is in heritage and traditional arts, she has created a museum theatre form that weaves the factual and the imaginative into exciting, interactive experiences for audiences of all ages.

Roberta’s professional theatre career includes work at most Washington, DC-area theaters. She worked with the groundbreaking Living Stage Company, Arena Stage’s improvisational community outreach company; served as choreographer and movement stylist for six seasons with Michael Kahn at The Shakespeare Theater; and created movement  and dances  for such organizations as Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company,Roundhouse Theater,  Studio Theatre, and Washington Jewish Theatre. Fluent in sign language, she served on the faculty at Gallaudet University, and has also taught at George Washington University,  American University, Montgomery College (Rockville,MD), and in Poland at the University of Poznan. Her dedication to educational theatre is evident in her extensive experience with the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts field trip program and Kaiser Permanente’s AIDS and health education initiative, among other programs.

A presenter and creator of plays and performances for the Smithsonian Institution for many years, Roberta became Discovery Theater director in 2000, deepening the theater’s commitment to educational enrichment and broadening its connection to the museums on and off the National Mall. She sees the theater as a “gateway” experience, introducing Smithsonian topics, themes, and collections to children. Drawing on her knowledge of world theatre to present “living exhibits” with master artists demonstrating traditional and cultural arts, Roberta selects or creates Discovery Theater programs that bring the world directly to audiences of educators and students, parents and children. Original works produced with professional educational artists highlight themes and offer learning opportunities vital to young people in this time of rapid globalization.


As Artistic Director of  the Washington Revels,  Roberta guides a performance community in multi-generational singers, dancers, mummers, and tradition bearers in a variety of performances, workshops, festivals, parades and other celebrations honoring the turning of the year, the passages of life and the creation of community.

Roberta received her BA from the Catholic University of America and an MFA from Towson University, specializing in interdisciplinary world experimental theatre and art.  She is an active member of the International Museum Theater Alliance, the Association of American Museums, and ASSITEJ-USA (The United States Center for the International Association of Theater for Children and Young People). Roberta has served on grants panels in educational theatre for many years, including the NEA, DC Commission on the Arts, and Prince George’s County Arts Council.

She is married to noted Actor/Educator/Activist Oran Sandel, and is immensely proud of her two sons, author Colin Sandel and musician scholar Jamie Sandel.