I love teaching. I find I learn as much as I teach and am inspired by the role theatre can play within society and committed to work that supports strong links between professional and community theatre. I believe in facilitating the unique talent of each individual and that the best work happens within a supportive and challenging ensemble.
From 2015-17 I was Artistic Director of the Two Year Acting Course and Head of Short Courses 2014-17 at Drama Studio London where, together with Kali Theatre, I set up a summer school for actors of South Asian descent. Previously I was Head of Movement for the BA Hons in Acting at CTT in association with the University of West London and taught BTEC Performing Arts at South Thames College. I have also directed for the Royal Academy of Music, Birmingham University and East 15.
On numerous occasions I've had the opportunity to work as Artist in Residence at the University of South Florida. The annual two month residency constitutes their Brit Programme and is produced by Matthew Gale. As part of my post there I worked with writer Kate Kerrow, video designer Eva Auster and sound designer Matt Eaton to devise the new play with the students, Ravens. This piece focused on women's experience in American History. During 2021 I created Magnetic North, an online performance.
When at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, I worked on numerous outreach projects. I taught dance on their groundbreaking Acting Out programme, was director and movement director on numerous youth theatre shows, facilitated projects with the young refugee community and directed their TIE tour Big School. I've also led projects for learning disabled actors and workshops in prisons. When traveling in Australia I created a health based drama project with children of the Mantamaru Aboriginal Community.
As a workshop leader and educator, I specialise in ensemble theatre, verse speaking, physical acting, emotional access and building confidence through drama. Recent education work includes adult education classes at the Bishopsgate Institute and various workshops at The Actors Centre. I am visiting lecturer in Shakespeare on the MA Text and Performance at Goldsmiths University.
During lockdown I became fascinated by the nature of community and connection within an educational environment and the frameworks that best support that, on zoom and in real life. I took the opportunity of confinement to explore the body's relationship to objects and scenic items in performance applying methodologies from Anne Bogart (Nine Viewpoints) and Rudolf Laban. This has resulted in a new series of workshops, Your Body and The Furniture.
Quick, 1 minute creative prompts for actors, movers, writers and anyone wanting a little creative inspiration on YouTube and @HelenTennisonWorkshops on Instagram
Images below and banner picture from Ravens
Devised with writer Kate Kerrow and students from the University of South Florida 2014
Photography Kyle Scharf
Titus Andronicus Video
Directed by Helen Tennison
Designed and performed by students at USF