Helena-Jane Kilkelly

H-J began her career in theatre at the age of 19, when her father pleaded her to get on board and production manage a show that was logistically challenged. Thus began an insane immersion/addiction…

Children of the Poor (wr: Mervyn Thompson, dir: Kylie Morgaine Thomas) had a successful season at the Globe Theatre in Dunedin (2001), and for some reason it was decided to tour the show to the Wellington Fringe Festival, plunging H-J yet again into something she was completely out of her depth in: producing and touring a show. Fundraisers, Creative Communities, and lots of begging got them there, and an amazing show was performed to all of about 3 people a night.

However, having then learned everything the hard way, she continued on her theatre journey and was involved in a number of capacities, including stage managing and production managing dozens of shows at the Globe Theatre (Dunedin), Allen Hall Theatre and Circa.

H-J’s passion further developed into the area of working on premieres of New Zealand works. As stage and production manager, she toured both nationally and internationally with Jerusalem Jerusalem (wri: Mike Riddell, dir: Rose Riddell): Globe Theatre, Ngaio Marsh Theatre, Christchurch, 2002; Fortune Theatre, Dunedin, 2003; Circa2, Wellington 2003; The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Belfast, Cheltenham Greenbelt Festival, 2003. As producer, she premiered double-bill seasons for emerging New Zealand playwrights, Emily Duncan and Nathan Matthews at the Dunedin Fringe Festivals – See/Lips in 2003, and Sweet Meats/The Takeover in 2004.

Leap forward to late 2015 – after years of travelling and living overseas, retail management, the corporate world, blogging, marriage, a baby, and teaching, she finally returned to where she’s meant to be, the (back)stage, working both with Prospect Park Productions, and contracting to other exciting opportunities.

Key projects since then have included for Prospect Park Productions:

  • Hold Me (dir: Tabitha Arthur, BATS, 2016)
  • Dark Dunedin: Heaven Looks On (dir: Emily Duncan, podcast & Dunedin Fringe Festival launch event 2018)
  • Eloise in the Middle (dir: Jordan Dickson, Dunedin Public Art Gallery, 2018)
  • Le Sujet Parle (dir: Emily Duncan, Otago Museum, 2019)

And as an independent producer:

  • Breaking Ground, a specialist Māori, Pasifika and Indigenous playwriting development festival (for Tawata Productions), annually since 2016
  • Kia Mau Festival of Māori, Pasifika and Indigenous theatre and dance, annually since 2017
  • The Annual BATS Summit (for BATS Theatre), practitioner development weekend, annually since 2017
  • The Night Mechanics (Tawata Productions, dir: Mīria George, BATS, 2017)
  • Tai Ahiahi///Tai Awatea: Curating Contemporary Māori Art pre-symposium workshops (with Toi Māori and City Gallery, 2017)
  • State of Our Stage National Hui Tour (Playmarket, 2017)
  • Bless the Child (Tawata Productions, dir: Mīria George, NZ Festival/Auckland Festival, 2018)
  • Spring Uprising a mini-festival celebrating arts as an agent for social change (for Barbarian Productions, 2018 – present)

She is a proud resident of Te Hau Tūtū, an independent Māori Theatre Producers’ Room based at Te Haukāinga in Wellington, and can be found there, or in one of her unofficial Dunedin offices (anywhere with cheese rolls and coffee, or the Dunedin Fringe HQ).

Contact h-j@prospectparknz.com