Helen Evans | The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

Helen Evans

Project Title

 I Spy: Surveillance, Politicity and the Participant-Spectator Turn


Dr. Stephen Farrier


BA (Hons) Acting, First Class, University College Bretton Hall (1998)

MA Performance Practices and Research (Distinction), The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (2006)


The purpose of my PaR is to unpick, make explicit, and develop an understanding of the implicit politicity within surveillance interpellation. It is not, however, about surveillance, per se; rather it addresses issues that originated with performance interpellation from the perspective of being participant-spectator in Immersive Theatre. Thus, my discussion traverses the two domains.  My thinking is as follows:

• Immersive Theatre is unsensibilised - what to do, how to behave, and the extent by which one is to immerse is ambiguous.

• The implicit politicity of performance interpellation is often presupposed as democratic and, as such, promoting agency. Yet its’ ocular dynamics, turning the focus upon the audience in a seen/seeing dyad, renders it akin to societal conditions of democracy under surveillance.  This coexistence is paradoxical, therefore, an uncertain condition within which to operate; this has an affect.

• We are in a surveillance-orientated epoch. This has nurtured a shift in cultures of visibility and participation, and their interrelations.

Surveillance has historically been closely aligned to tyranny.  Thus my argument develops a theory somewhere between, within and colliding democracy and tyranny within participation.


I am a London-based actor, singer, lecturer, director, and practitioner-researcher.  I enjoy inter-pollinating these various facets of my career, and the variety conjures fresh perspectives.  I hold a first class BA (Hons) in Acting from Bretton Hall, and an MA, with distinction, in Performance Practices and Research from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.  I am aiming to complete my doctorate in December 2016. 

As an educator, I am currently the Acting Coordinator/Tutor and Director for the BA (Hons) Musical Theatre Performance course at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. I also work, periodically, at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Previously, I have been Head of Acting at The MTA, and Associate Lecturer/Director at the University of Chichester, Brunel University, and at Bretton Hall.  My teaching includes lectures but is predominantly praxis-driven. My pedagogical development towards emerging and mutating actor training to serve individual ways of understanding is on going. My practice-as-research has historically explored the voice of women in protest against the abuse of women in and from other cultures, and the ‘right’ and ‘authority’ to speak out within alleged democratic domains.  The myth of total free speech and agency has lead me to my current research concerns.


2015-16  Director, Graduate Showcases, Trinity Laban, Ambassadors Theatre, London

2015   Sissy Goforth, The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore, Bristol Old Vic (R&D, director Nia Lynne)

2015 Multi-roles, Love Song of the Electric Bear, Arts Theatre West End (Director Matthew Parker)

2015 Director, Pirates of Penzance, Trinity Laban, Blackheath Halls

2014 Director, Anything Goes and Company, for Trinity Laban, Blackheath Halls

2012-16 Soloist, West End in Concert tours (Director and choreographer Andrew Simeon)

2012-14 Nurse, Romeo and Juliet; Maria, Twelfth Night; and Titania/Hippolyta, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Middle Temple Hall and France Tours (for Antic Disposition, winners of Peter Brook/ Equity award, 2014)

2011  Multi-roles, The Shakespeare Review, National Tour, France, Hampstead New End (Antic Disposition)

2010-13  Electra, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Epsom Downs, and Zombie Prom, The MTA, The Drill Hall and The Courtyard Theatre

2010  Alumni Vocalist, Les Miserables 25th Anniversary Concert, O2 (director Lawrence Connor) 

2010 Cleopatra, BBC's Bafta winning Relic: Guardians of the Museum (director Ollie Brack)

2007-10  Madame Deux Visage / Miss Mutternot, BBC's Bafta winning Trapped (director James Morgan)

2010 Miss Dinsmore, Singin' In The Rain, National Tour, UK Productions (director Allison Pollard) 


The Royal Central School Research Bursary, PhD studies, 2010-16

TaPRA Award for presenting a paper at the University of Kent conference, 2012

Conference Presentations

2012 ‘Participation: About Turn (Concerning Spect-actorship)’, TaPRA Conference at the University of Kent, supported by a bursary award from both TaPRA and The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.

2012 ‘PUBLIC ‘I’: Intramediality, SurVEILance and the Interactive Turn’, Performing Research: Creative Exchange Conference, The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

2011 ‘Intermediality: surVEILance and the Interactive encounter’, TaPRA Conference, Kingston University 

2010 ‘What Are You Looking At? Participant-spectatorship and Thirdspace Intersubjectivity’, Postgraduate conference Performing Research: Creative Exchanges, The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

Teaching areas/expertise

• Actor training/praxis for both musical and non-musical theatre 

• Theory and practice of modes of naturalism

• Contemporary dramaturgies and performance practices 

• Performing Shakespeare 

• Directing both devised productions and established texts 

• Devising collaborative theatre from both linguistic and somatic origins 

• Tutoring for performance, devised practice, and dissertations

• Assessing performance, devising, dissertations and viva-voces