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Helen Davies

Helen Davies

Principal Lecturer

Nottingham School of Art & Design

Staff Group(s)
Theatre Design


Helen is Course Leader of Design for Theatre and Live Performance pathway within the BA (Hons) Design for Stage and Screen and continues to be a design tutor teaching all aspects of stage design across all levels.

Career overview

Helen graduated from BA (hons) Theatre Design at Nottingham Trent University in the mid 90’s and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, UK. She has worked extensively as a Designer in live performance for over 20 years.

Her designs have toured into national and international venues with ‘On the Waterfront’ transferring into the West End, directed by Steven Berkoff. She has worked in regional theatres and small-scale venues on classic, pantomime and emerging theatre, dance and music pieces with some of the UK’s finest directors and choreographers. Birmingham Royal Ballet’s production of ‘Small World’s’ being a career highlight. She has also worked as designer/art director on events, site specific, exhibitions and in museums.

In 2010 Helen co-founded a Theatre Company with a consortium of artists developing links between two distinct theatre practices by looking at audience and community engagement in the UK and China, funded by the Arts Council and culminating in a live rural theatre tour in the Midlands. She is passionate about how genres and culture can intertwine cutting across borders.

Companies Helen has designed with across the UK include – Birmingham Royal Ballet, Nottingham Playhouse, York Theatre Royal, Liverpool Royal Court, Birmingham Rep, Birmingham mac, Harrogate Theatre, Lakeside Arts and touring companies such as New Perspectives, Action Transport, Red Earth, Roundabout, Women in Theatre, Oxford Touring Theatre Company, The Fionnbarr Factory, Mish Mash and Eclipse Theatre.

Helen is a strong advocate of widening the visual and performing arts, to a broader society. Helen has held various positions in education throughout her career translating her industry knowledge into teaching practice. She was a resident Designer and Workshop facilitator for 6 years at the Arts and Education Centre, Nottingham, as well as a visiting lecturer at Hull University and the University Of Derby.

Research areas

Helen is a Higher Education Partner for the East Midlands Regional Heart –‘Staging Places’ UK Design for Performance, Exhibition and hosted workshops at NTU in preparation for the UK Education stand at the Prague Quadrennial Event 2019.

She has exhibited in two of the Society of British Theatre Designers UK exhibitions –

January 2007 exhibitor at ‘Design for Performance’-SBTD, Nottingham and at the V & A, London.

Feb 2011 exhibitor at ‘Collaborators-SBTD’ Exhibition, Cardiff.

2009 -2011 Co-founder of Company and Designer -International ‘Sichuan Opera Exchange Project’ – research visit to Chengdu and Chongqing into the unique form of Opera in the Sichuan Province. Culminating in a live Rural Theatre tour in 2010 – ‘The Storytrader’s of Sichuan’. The first time Sichuan Opera performers have toured this art form in the UK.

2003 – Nottingham City Council ‘Art in The Foundation Stage’ to support and stage an Exhibition of young children’s art work at The Council House Nottingham, as the culmination of a year-long initiative supporting pupils and teachers at Foundation Stage.

External activity

  • Helen maintains industry links, working with theatre companies and securing work experience opportunities for her students.
  • Working partner with Nottingham Playhouse, collaborating on live projects.
  • Birmingham Opera live project curator.
  • Academic liaison role at Nottingham College.

Press expertise

Helen’s area of expertise are:

  • Theatre Design, Scenography
  • Live event design
  • Site specific performance.
  • Theatre for young people.
  • Accessibility performance.
  • Retail Theatre
  • Exhibition, Museum design
  • Sustainability in design
  • Performance Design in the Digital Age