July 30  – August 4, 2018

What is the story within you that “must be told”?

In this workshop we will use voice work, movement, journaling, improvisation and guided fantasy to discover these stories and to shape them – personal, mythic, ancestral – into theatre.



Helen has been creating, performing, directing and teaching collaborative and solo theatre for over twenty-five years.  She has guided dozens of workshop participants – both theatre professionals and non-professionals – in creating and performing their own solo performances as well as ensemble theatre. She is a founder and co-artistic director of Black Swan Arts & Media, based in Oakland, California, that creates and produces original performance works.  BSAM’s most recent works are: The Prepared Table: A Feast of Foods, Live Performance, and Stories from Iraq, Afghanistan, and the FOB (Forward Operating Base of the US Military), a multimedia response to the post 9/11 wars, Heart of America: Stories from the New Ellis Island, an aerial dance work on immigration, and, Like A Mother Bear, a solo performance work that explores the intersection of ecology, myth, and healing. (at the Ko Festival July 27 – 19, 2018)

She teaches workshops and classes in solo performance, ensemble creation, “slow theatre”, community-based theatre-making, and ancestor work.


In 2004 Helen founded ALICE Arts, later renamed Black Swan Arts & Media. For its first ten years ALICE’s education arm also brought professional artists into Bay Area classrooms to teach performing and visual arts to over 12,000 Oakland youth. The Ancestor Project, an oral history and performing arts program, collected hundreds of oral histories from immigrants over a period of six years and provided the text for the professional performance work, Heart of America.

Helen is former co-artistic director of the former internationally acclaimed ensemble, A Traveling Jewish Theatre—and its only non-Jewish member. Over her 15-year tenure with ATJT she co-created, directed, and performed in eight original mainstage plays. Her plays have been performed worldwide, from The Los Angeles Theatre Festival to Hamburg’s Sommer Theatre Festival, and from Prague to Appalachia.

Helen also co-wrote and starred in a film adaptation of her solo play, Like a Mother Bear. It won the Best Docudrama award from the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival, and an award for creative excellence from the Earthvision Environmental Film and Video Festival. Helen has received numerous additional awards for her work, including grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, California Arts Council, City of Oakland Cultural Arts Program, and the Djerassi Resident Artists Program.


Workshops are geared for participants of all levels of experience, whose ages have run from 18-85. Workshops will meet from 10 am – 4 pm, Monday through Saturday, in Studio II of Webster Hall on the Amherst College campus in Amherst, MA.

Driving Instructions to Amherst College

Amherst College campus map.

Workshops cost $399. There is a $50 discount for registration by April 1. NOTE: Contact us to apply for limited pool of partial financial aid, or for discounts for NET (Network of Ensemble Theaters) members.

Optional room and board are available on the Amherst College campus for an additional fee.  2018 prices have not been set yet, but  2017 workshop housing was $245, for a single with a shared bath in an Amherst College dorm. Studios, theatre, dining commons and dorms are all within walking distance. A meal ticket for the Dining Commons (tasty, healthy food – much of it local) was $245. There are also many places to eat within walking distance in the center of town.

Email us, if you are interested in alternative housing. There are a number of hotels, motels and bed & breakfasts in the area.


STEP 1: Click Workshop-Regstration-form-18  to download the registration form in as a PDF. ALL WORKSHOP STUDENTS PAYING BY CHECK MUST SUBMIT THIS FORM either via email or by post.
STEP 2. Print out your registration form and make your deposit check out to Ko Theater Works. Mail them to The Ko Festival of Performance 498 South Gulf Road Belchertown, MA 01007
Questions? For further information email us or call (413) 427-6147.


    Includes a $6.00 credit card fee.

    • HOUSING (Optional) If you plan to use our housing option you MUST indicate this at the same time as you register, otherwise it may not be available.257 $

    Includes a $6.00 credit card fee.

    • MEAL PLAN (optional)257 $