“When I walk on stage, I encourage the audience to ask, 'What happened to your face?' I then explain that I was born with a severe facial disfigurement. On the left side of my face and neck there is a 'vascular malformation' consisting of swollen and entangled blood vessels. As an infant and child I underwent many facial surgeries and heavy radiation therapy, which left radiation burns on my temple and eyelid. Yet my face is a gift, because my shadow side – my difficulty and challenge – is on the outside, where I have been forced to deal with it, and in doing so, have found my beauty inside myself.”
Who is David?
David Roche is an inspirational humorist, keynote speaker and performer who has transformed the challenges and gifts of living with a facial difference into a compelling message that uplifts and delights audiences around the world. With the publication of his first book, The Church of 80% Sincerity, he is also an author.
David presents keynote speeches, humor and entertainment at conferences, meetings and fundraisers for corporate events, and for associations, non-profit, educational and disability organizations.
He has performed his signature one-man show, The Church of 80% Sincerity, across the U.S. and in Canada, England, New Zealand, Australia and Russia. David has appeared at the Clinton White House and headlined at Olympics Arts Festivals in Sydney, Australia and Vancouver. He and his wife Marlena Blavin > present Love At Second Sight >, a program for adolescents about appearance, acceptance and diversity.
David has been featured in four films, including Shameless >, a feature-length documentary by Bonnie Sherr Klein from the National Film Board of Canada, and The Second Glance >, a short film by Nic Askew. He has also been interviewed on the 7th Avenue Project on KUSP (NPR) > Anne Lamott's bestseller, Plan B >, includes a chapter about David. And Paula Zahn profiled David on her show as a result of viewer response to an earlier interview on CNN (below).
David's favorite work is with students. He and his wife Marlena Blavin > share their stories in Love At Second Sight >. With simple honesty and warm humor, they confront the issues of appearance, acceptance and diversity.
In addition to his own acclaimed solo work, David has appeared in ensemble works in two world premieres held in San Francisco: Opening to You by Corey Fischer and Summertime by Charles L. Mee Jr.
Born to an Irish Catholic family in Hammond, IN, David is the eldest of seven children. He spent four years in a Roman Catholic seminary and later obtained his BA in philosophy (Magna Cum Laude) at St. Joseph's College.
David developed his stage skills as a comedian in shows produced by Lee Glickstein and later worked with Access to Comedy, a troupe of disabled comedians. Subsequently he created his signature theater work, The Church of 80% Sincerity, while playing to the San Francisco Bay Area's many diverse communities. Since then he has received plaudits and changed lives in hundreds of venues.
David and his wife Marlena Blavin enjoy living on the beautiful Sunshine Coast of British Columbia, Canada. Their home is filled with photos of friends and family, including storytelling colleagues and David's beloved daughter Amy.
David's presence is strong in his communities as well as on stage. He has served on the board of the Association for Theatre and Accessibility and as president of the Board of Directors of the KickstART Society for Disability Arts and Culture in Vancouver, BC. David is a co-founder of the Childcare Switchboard/Single Parent Resource Center and of the massage therapy internship program at California Pacific Medical Center, both in San Francisco.