Helen Rickards is an independent theatre producer and arts consultant with a track record in delivering independent performing arts productions and projects that spans over 30 years in the professional Australian arts industry.
In 1977, she co-founded the Melbourne based visual theatre company, Handspan Theatre, and worked as the company’s Executive Artistic Director/Producer and General Manager until 1986. During that time, she produced significant new Australian theatrical works including Nigel Triffitt’s Secrets, Daniel Keene’s Cho Cho San, and Ariette Taylor’s Four Little Girls.She developed the company’s community outreach programs with cross-cultural, disadvantaged and minority groups and established Handspan’s international touring circuit, managing tours to UK, France, Germany, Italy, USA and Canada.
Since then, through her company, Schemes Consolidated, Helen has worked as producer/general manager/ administrator or consultant with independent artists and small companies, major international arts festivals and arts organisations to produce new Australian performance work, often in hybrid cross-artform disciplines, that reflects her interest and belief in the power of artistic work to provoke, reflect and encourage new ideas and social change.
She is co-author with Maeve VellaofTheatre of the Impossible, Puppetry in Australia(1988) – still Australia’s most comprehensive overview of the artform, a former Editor of Lowdown, Australia’s Magazine of the Arts for Young People, and co-creator with Maeve Vella and author of the Handspan Theatreresearch compilation website launched in 2016: http://www.handspantheatre.com.au/