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The MarLabs Logo

The Short Story

A guest in over 600 schools, a classically trained actress, puppeteer, juggler, musician, spoken word artist and all-around entertainer, MarLa is passionate about creating fun environments for learning, healing and performing. 

Creative Performer & Teacher 

Winner of the 2023 
Distinguished Alumni Award
for contributions to the local artistic community and leadership in fundraising. 

Award2023.jpg

The Long Story

 

Born on the seventh day of the seventh month, the seventh grandchild of Maltese grandparents, MarLa was magical from the get go.

The youngest of four girls, daughters of teachers, MarLa's imagination was nourished and fostered by her mother's passion for stories.

 

With frequent trips to the library, long hours reading and meet n' great sessions with authors, MarLa quickly learned that you could take your ideas and create art that entertains and educates.

Marla hated the idea of being an "actress" she was concerned about the makeup and hairspary. But one time, on a family trip, MarLa saw a juggler and she was mesmerized! 

 

Her second oldest sister bought her a set of juggling balls and told MarLa she could be a juggler too, if she practiced. So she started to learn, and by the time she was 12 years old she was juggling. But on the encouragement of her highschool drama teacher, she auditioned for theater school in Toronto, Canada.

MarLa studied classical and contemporary theater and she excelled in clown, mask, physical comdey and creative writing. She acquired skills in creating and performing. She came to life in a new way!

 

Graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Performance Marla continued to study with the French theater master Philippe Gaulier.

Shortly after graduating, she began performing her one-person juggling show in libraries and teaching workshops. She spent 6 seasons performing family theater shows with Mirador Theatre in Muskoka, Ontario, developing a great love for performing for young audiences.

In 2012 Marla was the lead puppeteer and clown with the Canadian Opera Company in the production Love From Afar.

Between 2011 -2015 Marla toured a one-person mask show by Faustwork Mask Theater, playing over 25 characters in French and English, travelling to over 400 schools and sharing her artistry with Canadian communities including Indigenous and First Nations schools throughout Canada.

As an arts educator, Marla taught at the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto and with the Toronto District School Board since 2013 an artist is residence to inner-city schools teaching drama for social-emotional learning.

Her programs engage and empower students 6 -12 years old.

Between 2015-2017 MarLa toured with Dufflebag Theater, performing in over 200 schools as an actress in improvised fairy-tales and classic stories, playing over 30 characters in 15 different shows.

​In 2018, MarLa's first musical recording was released with Canada Covers Tom Petty, a tribute playlist to the great songwriter.

 

In 2022 Marla released her first original song

[LISTEN HERE]

with Stand Up to Cancer Music As Healing Program. Marla plays ukulele, guitar, she is a songwriter and dabbles on the piano, the djembe and loves to freestyle! 

From 2019 - 2020 Marla was living in West Los Angeles working at Ecole Claire Fontaine, a private french daycare, as a Special Projects Teacher.

 

She was performing regularly at the Mar Vista Farmer's Market as The Juggling Chef and performing her original music.....and then along came a pandemic, followed by Stage 3 Ovarian Cancer.

Cancer changes everything. And for MarLa, it has made her more powerful, passionate and on purpose. By overcoming her diagnosis,  MarLa discovered that her skills and experience as an artist cn be put to use in the cancer world.

 

Her work, Imagination Meets Cancer, is a multi-faceted project that aims to bridge the gap between the world of cancer care and the arts.

Currently Marla resides between the Greater Toronto Area and Los Angeles pursuing artist residencies, performing and teaching opportunities and having fun with her big Irish-Maltese family. 

MarLa B at 6 years old
MarLa in 2021
MarLa & Grade 2 Teacher
MarLa at the Last Bookstore in LA
MarLa winning over cancer
MarLa in the Garden

If my skillset, experience and mission is right for your audience, please reach out today!

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