Helen Varley Jamieson is a theatre-maker and digital artist whose work includes writing, directing, producing, devising and networking. Since 2000, she has experimented with the internet as a site for live performance, developing a new artform - cyberformance. In 2008 she completed a Master of Arts (Research) at Queensland University of Technology, titled "Adventures in Cyberformance: experiments at the interface of theatre and the internet".
Helen's interest in theatre began with childhood classes at Dunedin's Globe and Playhouse Theatres, and in 1982 she and her sister Philippa won the Junior Playwriting Cup at the Otago One Act Play Festival for their play Mindboggling. Helen studied theatre, directing and playwriting at Otago University, graduating in 1992 with a BA (English and Theatre), and was president of the Otago University Students’ Association in 1991. Her first professionally-produced play, Women Like Us, was commissioned for the Centenary of Women's Suffrage and premiered at the Globe Theatre, Dunedin in 1993 then toured to the Wellington Fringe Festival (Taki Rua Theatre) in 1994. Later that year Helen co-directed Riwia Brown's play The Debate in the first Young & Hungry festival, and in 1995 her next play, Risky/Risque, premiered at BATS Theatre. Her third play, Between, was commissioned by Young & Hungry and premiered at BATS Theatre during the 2001 Fringe. In 2005 she produced the STAB show Demeter's Dark Ride - An Attraction, directed by Madeline McNamara. Phone Jam, her fourth play for the stage, awaits professional production. In 2018 she wrote The Fifty Percent Party as an update to Women Like Us for the 125th anniversary of women's suffrage.
From 2002 to 2007 Helen created cyberformance with the globally dispersed troupe Avatar Body Collision (including swim - an exercise in remote intimacy which was presented at BATS during the 2005 Fringe, and the[abc]experiment at BATS, 2002). Since 2003 she has managed the development of a purpose-built online platform for cyberformance, UpStage, and from 2007 to 2012 co-directed six online international festivals of cyberformance held in UpStage. She developed and toured internationally the networked performance make-shift with theatre-maker Paula Crutchlow (UK) from 2009 to 2012.
Helen collaborates and networks internationally with a variety of theatre companies, arts organisations and individual artists. Her work includes multimedia performance events in libraries and museums, digital art installations, online projects and the ongoing networked conversation event We Have a Situation. She is the Web Queen of the international network of women in contemporary theatre and performance, the Magdalena Project, and a Trustee of the Magdalena Aotearoa Trust.
Helen has been based in Munich, Germany, since 2010.
Helen's personal website
the UpStage site
Avatar Body Collision site
Magdalena Aotearoa site
the Magdalena project site