Like a one-woman force of nature, this vibrant and enthusiastic performer and businesswoman has her finger in so many theatrical pies she’s soon going to have to use her toes as well.
Helen runs The Raw Talent Company, a recent consolidation of the previously separate Raw Talent Training, Raw Talent Education and Raw Talent Productions companies.
By bringing everything under one umbrella, she not only hopes to provide a one-stop service for anyone’s dramatic needs, but to also realise her goal of setting up Actors Centre Scotland, a hub for the theatrical community.
“I’d like it to be a centre for all schools and disciplines,” she explains, “as well as a social hub and somewhere where people can meet and network.”
“There’s a real demand in Edinburgh and central Scotland for something like that.”
And she’s well placed to see her vision become reality. Not only does her Raw Talent Company provide everything from tuition for kids to fully-fledged film & theatre production, Helen is also the Secretary and Vice Chair of the East of Scotland general branch of Equity; and Artistic Director for the New Victoria Project (the campaign to transform the old Odeon cinema on Clerk Street into a cutting-edge performance space).
It’s safe to say theatre runs in Helen’s blood. Born in Darlington, she moved to Fife with her parents when she was a baby, growing up with a love of performance.
“I put on my first show when I was eight!” she says.
By the age of 17, Helen had set up a successful children’s theatre company; then became an after-school drama teacher at Inverkeithing High School.
In 2001, the lure of a life on the ocean wave proved irresistible and she became a cruise ship entertainer and singer, frequently receiving critical acclaim from the ships’ directors. Then, after her acting training in the States, she returned to Scotland where she has racked up acclaim as an actress, singer and all-round performer.
“I played the role of the mother in Timmy, a Scottish film which was nominated for ‘Best Drama’ by the Royal Television Society Awards,” she says.
“Then last year I appeared in a Fringe show, as well as recording children’s songs and nursery rhymes for Twinkle Trax.”
“This year, I’m really thrilled to be appearing in The Vagina Monologues as part of the V-Day initiative.” [a global movement to stop violence against women]
“And I’m also writing a one-woman show based on my recent personal experiences – A Wife Is For Life, Not Just For Christmas!”
“Oh, and I’ll be resurrecting my cabaret shows too – me singing songs by Streisand, The Carpenters and Eva Cassidy with a full live band.”
It’s a wonder she has any time to sleep, let alone drive forward all her other plans and ambitions.
“It certainly stops me being bored!” she says, laughing. “Though if I was forced to pick one thing, it would be the shows. I’m a born performer!”. “Having said that, I’ve another couple of exciting meetings about new ventures coming up, so watch this space!”
Fortunately, no-one’s forcing Helen to choose. With her passion, experience and acumen, we’re pretty sure she’ll make a success of whatever she turns her hand to.
And we’re also confident that before very long we’ll be running a feature on the Actors Centre Scotland too.