WHO I AM
"The ensemble teem with tomfoolery- including Matt Roben... insanity was never so healthy."
Matt’s first major solo travels occurred while still attending high school. He was fortunate enough to spend 6 weeks living with a family in the rural mountains of Honduras with Amigos de Las Americas doing volunteer work. He then went to Tijuana, Mexico where he helped to build a home for a family. After graduating from high school in 1995, Matt moved to Montreal where he attended the National Circus School for 2 years.
He got the chance to perform with several shows around the world in North America, South America, Europe and Asia. He then moved to Florida where he lived and continued to perform while running his company providing balloon animal makers for restaurants. After a brief move back to California, he spent all of 2001 on a cruise ship sailing around the Caribbean as a Krooz Komic and scuba diving and took his summer work/holiday in Europe (that trip needs a website of its own just to do it some justice).
Returning to the San Francisco Bay Area, he was seen in Annie at CMTSJ, and performed with the Renegade Theatre Experiment in The Universal Language as part of an evening of short plays by David Ives. He was a founding member of the Duskbeat Circus that had sold out performances of their show Umbra. He has been to Okinawa twice, performing in USO shows on the Kadena Air Force Base with Poet Productions.
Matt made his debut Bay Area professional musical theater appearance in San Jose with Theater on San Pedro Square’s production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Song and Dance, as what could be called an eccentric dancer.
His television debut was in August 2002 with Stand-UP, Its Thursday Night! on KRON4 in the Bay Area where he was a cast member of the sketch comedy television show. The show ran 36 episodes in their first season and they were #1 in the ratings for their Friday night time slot in the Bay Area.
In collaboration with Santana Row, he produced a series of stand-up comedy shows featuring top Bay Area comics. Some of those comics were finalists in the 2003 Britannia Arms Spring Comedy Competition that was produced and hosted by Matt.In May 2003, Matt moved to Chicago a city he now proudly calls home.
In the years since his move he spent time filming Outing Riley with director Pete Jones who won the Project Greenlight Award. His Theater Credits include Macbeth, Die Meistersinger Von Nurnberg - Lyric Opera of Chicago, understudy in Lookingglass Alice at the Lookingglass Theatre,Snow White - Emerald City Theater Company, The Tallest Man, Juno and The Paycock, Clash by Night and The Madwoman of Chaillot - The Artistic Home. Chicago circus credits include - The Midnight Circus, Aloft, Actors Gymnasium, and Meirmanov Circus Arts.
He has done commercials for Clabber Girl Baking Powder, morning-DJ Rover, and the Como Restaurant. Matt was also featured on billboards and in magazine ads nationwide for Hewlett Packard doing another one of his passions, flying his hang glider. You can also see him on several episodes of Jerry Springer and on VH1’s Behind the Scenes: Jerry Springer, as a juggling stilt-walker in a Mardi Gras costume.
Matt has worked with CircEsteem coaching children in the circus arts and using his performing skills to benefit children in Chicago-land hospitals. "CircEsteem’s mission is to unite youth from diverse racial, cultural, and economic backgrounds and help them build self-esteem and mutual respect through the practice of circus arts.
"With the same company he traveled to Japan with performing the USO shows (Poet Productions), Matt was supposed to spend 5 weeks in the summer of ’06 in Lebanon, performing at a casino. The trip however was cancelled last-minute when the Lebanon-Israel conflict broke out, 2 days before they were set to arrive in the country.
In 2008 Matt began working with the Midnight Circus performing his acrobatic bike routine and a 30' high handstand at their Halloween Spooktacular presented by the City of Chicago in Daley Plaza, a free show for everyone. He was also a regular cast member of their Circus in the Parks tour.
Matt is an accomplished trade show presenter and speaker who has worked at dozens of events around the country for companies including Siemens, Oracle, Manitowac, NTN, Visit Britain, Pogo Linux and Zirmed.
Every Tuesday evening you would find Matt at the Shedd Aquarium where he was a marine mammal diver. This volunteer position afforded him the pleasure of scuba diving with dolphins and beluga whales, and then cleaning up their "leftovers"... He spent three years as a dive presenter in their Caribbean Reef tank educating the public about the reef environment while feeding fish, sharks, a giant sea turtles and sting-rays. He performed over 1,600 volunteer hours during his 17 years of service.
Matt has competed in Triathlons, a great mental and physical focus- swimming, biking and running up to 6 days a week. He has completed the Vineman 70.3, and the Steelhead 70.3, both half Ironman length races.
In 2005 Matt started going to college and graduated from UIC in 2009 with a BS in Human Nutrition. He is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Personal Trainer.
March 22, 2009, Matt was married to the love of his life, Emily, and spent a week in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He loves to cook.
In 2010 Matt worked with Lyric Opera of Chicago performing as a flying witch, a soldier, and an Assassin in Verdi'sMacbeth. Immediately after he spent five weeks performing at Global Village in Dubai on 60' sway poles. He then spent 2 weeks traveling through Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodiam, and Thailand with his oldest friend- his twin sister Carly. The day she got home from her trip her boyfriend Sean proposed to her! She said yes and they are now happily married.
2011 was just as exciting. Matt worked on another show at the Actors Gymnasium starring as the main character in Lost and Found: A Recycled Circus, performed with the Midnight Circus at the Taste of Chicago, and with the Soul Sonik Circus at the Old Town Folk and Roots Festival.
In 2012 Matt did a three month tour of the Caribbean and Mediterranean from February through April performing his acrobatic bicycle act onboard the cruise ship MSC Poesia. Unfortunately while on his way home from Europe he was robbed and had his custom circus bike stolen. When he got home he immediately began rehearsing with the Midnight Circus for the Look Both Ways Street Festival in Washington DC which ran May 6-12. The Midnight Circus also performed seven weeks of sold out shows this fall for Circus in the Parks in Chicago and another successful season of their Halloween Spooktacular at Daley Plaza. November saw Matt performing with Cirque Musica at the Ft. Worth Symphony and in December he began rehearsals for Die Meistersinger Von Nurnberg which he performed in February 2013 at Lyric Opera of Chicago.
From 2013-2015 Matt was the Co-Founder and served for one year as the Executive Director of the Chicago Contemporary Circus Festival which brought 20+ circus companies from around the world to share their art with the Chicago audience. Workshops and panel discussions by industry pros were also a part of the activities. Matt had also been doing rigging for Redmoon Theater which had a show that included Lagunitas beer for the audience, while there Matt struck up a conversation which led him to hire all of the performers for the Beer Circus in Chicago.
In December 2016 Matt performed as Mother Ginger in the Joffrey Ballet production of Nutcracker, directed and choreographed by Tony Award Winner Christopher Wheeldon, which included a one hour PBS special about the new work.
And so while continuing to perform with many companies around the globe, 2016 and 2017 were equally as exciting bringing Matt directly into the world of Lagunitas Brewery where he worked as a Mercenary which is a fancy title for "one who gets paid to drink beer and talk to people".
From January 2018 through December 2021, Matt was on the Board of Directors at Links Hall, a Chicago- based organization that supports new work in the performing arts for an inclusive community and in March 2019 Matt became a member of the Producers Board at Physical Festival a contemporary visual and physical theater festival produced in Chicago.