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T H E A T R E    D I R E C T O R

“ A masterpiece…sensuous, unsettling and absorbing to the point of hypnotic..a towering achievement.”  

- Katherine MacAlister, The Oxford Times, Dracula


..a playful, fluid approach to the staging: characters emerge from cupboards, out of the fireplace, even from under the floorboards, while background figures twirl in slow motion.

- Critics Choice Time Out Breakfast With Emma


Hello, welcome to my website. I am a theatre director working across classics, new writing, site-specific theatre, devising and physical theatre. What characterises my work is truth, the visual, and an interest in how they work together to tell stories.



Edinburgh Fringe First Winner 2019

Director Helen Tennison excels at combining text and movement, and the show’s beauty lies in how the movement mirrors, contrasts and accentuates the emotional struggles of its characters.

-Stav Meisher, Circus Diairies, Everything I See I Swallow, intergenerational feminism, bondage and aerial rope.

I was recently commissioned to write Navigating Margaret, a fairytale about Dementia for Warwickshire based Arts Uplift. The piece is steeped in local history, covering Worcester, Kidderminster and Malvern. I'll be directing this in March 2023 working with a mixed cast of community and professional actors. Following that, I'll be working with Tamsin Shasha to devise a new show about the relationship between autism and gaming which features pole dancing. In May I return to Vienna's English Theatre to direct A Midsummer Night's Dream

Last year I decided to challenge my artistic boundaries by performing for the first time in many years with my solo performance-lecture, Doggerland. I directed Bang Average in the Award Winning, Dirty Corset at The Pleasance and Shirley Valentine at Teatre Ved Sorte Hest, Copenhagen.

Click here to read my INTERVIEW in THE STAGE


Previous work includes site-specific productions for Creation Theatre and numerous Shakespeare productions for Honey-Tongued / Midsummer Scene, of which, Twelfth Night transferred from Fort Lovrjenac, Croatia to Vienna's English Theatre and the Bermuda Festival, back in the UK, the offie nominated Wuthering Heights, which I adapted and directed, opened at Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud before embarking on a mid-scale tour.  As part of my role as Artist in Residence at the University of South Florida, I worked with writer Kate Kerrow to devise the multi-media production Ravens, exploring female identity and race in American History.


My experience also includes work for the following: Oxford Playhouse, Theatre Royal Winchester, Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds, Drama Studio London, Southwark Playhouse, Rosemary Branch, BAC, ICA, Old Vic, Barefeat Physical Theatre (Artistic Director) and Shakespeare’s Globe.


I am committed to re-evaluating theatre's role within the community, inspired by my outreach and education work for, amongst others, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry and Drama Studio London, where I was Co-Artistic Director, Head of the Two Year Acting Course 2015-17.  I am passionate about building more links between professional and community theatre, working in prisons, with refugee groups, running projects for those with mental health issues and other adult community groups, youth theatres and drama schools. In early 2023 I will be delivering a lecture on Directing at the University of Birmingham Read more about my outreach and education work here.


I have a background in physical theatre and dance coupled with a rigorous approach to text analysis, both of which influence my work.  I believe that the best work is created within supportive yet challenging environments.  I am interested in investigating the meeting point between naturalism and the abstract, in creating work that is socially relevant, funny and beautiful to watch.


If you want to find out more about me and my work you can reach me on


Helen Tennison rips up the book and darts between the stories with fierce energy

-Libby Purves, The Times, Tales from King James


Artist in Residence devised project on women and race in American History

University of South Florida

Jan/Feb 2014


Installation with Video Design by Eva Auster  & Sound Design by Matt Eaton.

Image copyright Eva Auster

Honey-Tongued & Brilliant Events
Midsummer Scene 2015
Vienna's English Theatre 2016
Bermuda Festival 2017


Creation Theatre

Oxford University Parks &

Pop-Up Theatre

at Bicester Village

Summer 2017


Taken at the

Marin Durzic Theatre, Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Tennison breathes fresh air into this classy piece of chick-lit  -  Honour Bayes, Time Out, Sense and Sensibility



Nothing short of inspired - Extra Extra                    Stylish and poetic work -Total Theatre



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