Heather Helinsky

Heather Helinsky

Freelance dramaturg based in Philadelphia, as well as the new Literary Manager for Playwrights Foundation since October 2019. Heather Helinsky is a dramaturg that playwrights have recognized as “especially adept at freeing energies in unexpected ways. She encourages discovery.”
Nationally, her dramaturgical work has been seen at the Accessible Theatre in Boston, American Repertory Theatre, the Apothetae...
Freelance dramaturg based in Philadelphia, as well as the new Literary Manager for Playwrights Foundation since October 2019. Heather Helinsky is a dramaturg that playwrights have recognized as “especially adept at freeing energies in unexpected ways. She encourages discovery.”
Nationally, her dramaturgical work has been seen at the Accessible Theatre in Boston, American Repertory Theatre, the Apothetae, Arizona Repertory Theatre, the Athena Project, Borderlands Theatre Company, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Great Plains Theatre Conference, The Kennedy Center, The Lark, Miracle Theatre in Portland, Moscow Art Theatre’s American Studio, Omaha Community Playhouse, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Phoenix Theatre in Indianapolis, Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre, Pittsburgh Public Theatre, Plan-B Theatre in Salt Lake City, Plays and Players of Philadelphia, Telluride Playwrights Festival, Venus Theatre Company, and Woolly Mammoth. In addition to BAPF, she is also a script reader for The O’Neill, PlayPenn, GPTC, Jewish Plays Project, Seven Devils, Sundance Theatre Lab and Playwrights Realm, reading 250-300 new scripts per season. As a freelance dramaturg, she works consistently with a wide-range of writers and aesthetics, and will travel to support them through readings and workshops. She moves fluidly between classical dramaturgy and new play development; she has been the Literary Manager of the Pittsburgh Public and PICT Classic Theatre, publishes articles for PA Shakespeare Festival's "The Quill". Recently, she's been an advocate for plays by women, working this season with primarily female artistic teams at the Denver Center, Venus Theatre, James Madison University, Lee University, and 6NewPlays in San Francisco.
As an educator, she’s a teaching artist for KCACTF, mentoring emerging dramaturgs at KCACTF Regions 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and has been involved with KCACTF Nationals since '12. She's also worked directly with producer Gregg Henry to interview student playwrights for the Kennedy Center's Undergraduate Playwrights' Workshop since its inception. Other Kennedy Center related projects include working with the VSA high school playwrights and dramaturging Andrew Heinrich's play THE FLOOD at NNPN's MFA Workshop at the Kennedy Center in summer 2017.
She has been a Visiting Professor of Dramaturgy at the University of Arizona (‘07/08), Carnegie Mellon School of Drama (‘12/’13), and an adjunct at Brooklyn College '15 and Lesley University '15-16, guest artist for Yale's 1st & 2nd year dramaturgs in Spring 2019.
Her M.F.A. in Dramaturgy and Theatre Studies is from the American Repertory Theatre/Moscow Art Theatre Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard. Member of LMDA since 2006, board member as VP of Freelance for LMDA since 2018.
www.helinskydramaturgy.com

Recommended by Heather Helinsky

  • When We Were gods
    19 Apr. 2020
    Sable Venus' epic & tragic journey from Mt. Olympus to the West Indies made this a compelling read. There were many contemporary themes, such as how it feels to be the only goddess of color in Zeus' white European Olympus, as well as the classical themes of gods transforming & interfering with human matters. The moment of Titan's betrayal really hit me, as well as the strong community of women Venus finds later in her journey. The love story with Venus & Athena is such a positive, healthy relationship, we need to see more of those stories staged too.
  • Stone Pebble Girls
    26 Mar. 2020
    This play grabbed me from the start with its characters that have stuck with me from reading it over a year ago. I really enjoyed the audience's relationship with Aika as she speaks to us of the New Mexico landscape around her and her family traumas. It's lyrical yet also realistic language makes it a really strong piece that I hope gets produced someday soon.
  • Predictor
    29 Sep. 2019
    This is a fascinating historical character, and this play brings her front and center to her contribution to history and women's health. This play helps us see her conflict between being a "good girl" in the world of Mad Men advertising, and the struggle to stand up for herself and take credit for her own ideas. The ensemble playing style not only creates the world of 1967, but keeps Meg Crane at the center, and gives her agency as she tells her story. Would love to see audience engagement events created for a production of this play!
  • Queen of the Water Lilies
    13 Sep. 2019
    I enjoy when a play teaches me about a part of history that I'm not aware of, and Helen is quite a force of nature as she protects her water lily farm and the neighborhood. A moment that really captured me is the complicated scene between Helen and Mariah's Aunt Mae, as both women navigate the swampy waterways of race, class, privilege, and community.
  • meet you at the Galaxy Diner.
    10 Sep. 2019
    Gina Femia's plays are always intersectional and focused on characters who are working through traumas, but are not without humor, nostalgia, and playfulness. Dialogue over a forgotten form of communication (AIM) is well-crafted, poetic, and full of juicy subtext as the characters try to connect across the universe. The nuanced, sometimes awkward stories these characters tell are raw, honest, and shine like stars. And the theatricality of different fantasy worlds provides delightful opportunities for staging. As our society struggles to tell stories about mental health, I absolutely trust Femia's strong, thought-provoking writing to help create important conversations with the audience.