helen varley jamieson


creative work | presentations | writing




Masters thesis: Adventures in Cyberformance - experiments at the interface of theatre and the internet (2008, Queensland University of Technology)

Books and Book Chapters

Articles, Reviews and Reports


Creative Writing

Helen writes, edits and animates texts, alone and collaboratively, for performance projects. Some examples include:

  • Unaussprechbarlich, written in collaboration with Annie Abrahams, 2015-
  • make-shift, written in collaboration with Paula Crutchlow, 2010-12
  • Avatar Body Collision: the work of this globally-dispersed cyberformance troupe is devised online by the four Colliders, with scripts developed from improvisations and chat dialogue. Helen contributes to the shaping of scripts and was the main writer of texts for "swim - an exercise in remote intimacy".
  • contributor to 1001 nights cast;
  • disturb.the.peace: angry women contributor (angry)
  • gender[f] contributor
  • Playwriting: three stage plays professionally produced, in Dunedin and Wellington (NZ), 1992-2001; and a fourth waiting in the wings.
  • Water[war]s: participation in Jill Greenhalgh's ongoing performance installation project, Water[war]s, in 2001, 2002 and 2003, including scripting and presenting a cyberformance and editing texts that were projected and displayed during the installations and performances
  • just words










Convergance of Contemporary Art, Visual Culture, and Global Civic Engagementnd



CyPosium book






The Fifty Percent Party
Commissioned by Suffrage 125, The Fifty Percent Party is a rewrite of Helen's 1992 play Women Like Us that updates the history of women in parliament in Aotearoa New Zealand and introduces new characters. The new script is aimed at a teenage audience and is accompanied by an education resource pack, written by Dr Lilicherie McGregor. It premiered at Marion College, Christchurch, in June 2019.

Phone Jam
Premiered in May 2014 by Te Aroha Repertory Theatre, Phone Jam is the story of a woman trapped in a phone box. Physical theatre, sheer poetry and universal truths are squeezed into this confined space and played out within the complexity of contemporary human communication. The script received a professional workshop with New Theatre Initiatives in Auckland, NZ (Feb-April 2002), and is now eager to see the light of the stage.

"... a treasure of a play ... delightful yet profound." John Smythe, National Business Review

Commissioned by the Young and Hungry Trust in 1999, Between is a one act play for five actors, exploring the transition from childhood to adulthood and the role of imagination in that transition. Premiered at the 2001 NZ Fringe Festival; performed at Aurora College, Invercargill, NZ, June 2010 (images from this performance at right) and the Marlborough Repertory Society, Blenheim, July 2019.

"...rapturously rich, refreshingly real."Capital Times

"Helen Jamieson tackles head on the subject of lesbians and AIDS and, miraculously, she has done it with humour and feeling and without sentimentality and gloom." Evening Post

Performed at BATS Theatre, Wellington, during the 1995 Devotion Festival, Risky/Risque is a dark comedy about the impact of AIDS on two women's relationship.

Women Like Us
"... a powerful play. As a debut full-length production it represented an achievement little short of staggering." The Listener

"...crisp and challenging, sprinkled with moments of hilarity." City Voice

"... light, airy and hilarious, but also a story of time and change against the backdrop of New Zealand politics ... one of the funniest plays I have seen in a long time." Kate Timms-Dean, Theatreview, 21 June 2019

Commissioned by the Suffrage Centenary Trust in 1993, Women Like Us celebrates the little-documented history of women in New Zealand politics in a two act play for three actors, who play more than 25 characters. It premiered at the Globe Theatre, Dunedin in 1993 and has been performed at Taki Rua Theatre, Wellington during the 1994 Fringe Festival, and in June 2019 by Little Scorpion Productions at the New Athaneum Theatre, Dunedin.

Editing and proofreading

  • Editor, CiviCRM manual book sprint (2011);
  • Proofreading, How To Bypass Internet Censorship (Internews, 2011);
  • Proofreading Tech Tools for Activists (first edition, 2010);
  • Proofreading for the Correspondence School, New Zealand (2008-10);
  • Nice Little Learner: Helen assisted in editing the content for this CD-ROM, produced as a financial education tool for Scottish high schools (2000).
  • editing Dance News for The Royal New Zealand Ballet (1996-99);
  • editing the Magdalena Aotearoa newsletter (since 1998);
  • editing DANZ Magazine (1996-97).

Web & CD-ROM Copywriting

Helen has been writing and editing copy for the web since 1994, including:

  • contributing writer for Rhizome, Furtherfield, faces and other online communities;
  • Creative Explorer: Helen researched and wrote the text for Creative Explorer, a comprehensive CD-ROM on the arts of New Zealand (1996-97). This included in-depth interviews with the six featured artists, sourcing and copyright clearing hundreds of images, and researching hundreds of related artists and topics. She also assisted with the layout, testing and project management.
    "... a very comprehensive resource and an extremely rich source of information." Computers In New Zealand Schools
  • Online copywriting for Media Catalyst, Amsterdam (2005-2008);
  • researching, writing and editing web copy for clients including AMP, Heritage Retreat, @URL and Synergy International;
  • Magdalena Aotearoa and the Magdalena Project sites;
  • article about writing copy for the web;
  • articles on theatre and art for Encyclozine (USA);
  • copy for Hyperzine, a children's sports zine, for the Hillary Commission (1997-99, issues 4-12);
  • content for the No Bully web site, part of a campaign by the NZ Police and Telecom NZ to reduce bullying in schools (1998).




creative work | presentations | writing


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©Helen Varley Jamieson 1999-2022