Heather Helinsky has been a working dramaturg for the past ten years, currently based in Philadelphia but a good portion of her career has also been in Pittsburgh, NYC, Boston, and DC. She’s been the resident dramaturg at the Great Plains Theatre Conference since 2010. For the past six seasons, she's read and evaluated scripts for The O'Neill, PlayPenn, Great Plains Theatre Conference, Jewish Plays Project, Philly Young Playwrights, and Sundance Theatre Lab. She has been the Literary Manager of the Pittsburgh Public and PICT Classic Theatre.
As a service to the Philadelphia theatre community, she has been a Barrymore voter for two seasons. She was the 2008 recipient of the Beatrice, Benjamin, and Richard Bader Fellowship for the Visual Art of Theatre at Houghton Library, focusing on Theodore Komisarjevsky’s role in importing Chekhov to England and America, and early critical reception of Chekhov’s plays in the English-speaking world. In 2016, Heather received a summer fellowship to the O'Neill National Critics Institute and received mentorship from Chris Jones.
Nationally, her dramaturgical work has been seen at the Accessible Theatre, American Repertory Theatre, the Apothetae, Arizona Repertory Theatre, Athena Project Festival, Borderlands Theatre Company, City Theatre, Denver Center, Great Plains Theatre Conference, The Kennedy Center, The Lark, Miracle Theatre, Moscow Art Theatre's American Studio, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Phoenix Theatre, Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre, Pittsburgh Public Theatre, Plan-B Theatre, Plays and Players of Philadelphia, PlayPenn, Salt Lake Acting Company, Telluride Playwrights Festival, Unexpected Stage, Woolly Mammoth, and the 6NewPlays collective in San Francisco.
This season, she is the production dramaturg for Tira Palmquist’s Two Degrees at the Denver Center and Andrea Hart’s premiere of dark is a different beast in San Francisco. For the Kennedy Center, Heather mentors student dramaturgs, regionally and nationally, since 2012, and reads for the David Mark Cohen award. Visiting Professor of Dramaturgy at Carnegie Mellon (’12-’13), University of Arizona (’07-08), Lesley University (’15-’16) and Brooklyn College (’15). MFA in Dramaturgy and Theatre Studies from the ART/MXAT Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard.
Blognews, trends, insights
Playwright Tira Palmquist and dramaturg Heather Helinsky discuss Two Degrees , a play about climate change and communication.
Tira Palmquist, Christy Montour-Larson, Heather Helinsky, and Jeni Mahoney share their insight and lessons learned on new play development.