Helen Trenos

UTAS Home Dr Helen Trenos
Helen Trenos

Helen Trenos

Adjunct Professor, Theatre
School of Creative Arts and Media

Inveresk Campus

Dr Helen Trenos, formerly Head of Theatre, is now an Adjunct Professor in Theatre at the School of Creative Arts and Media. Her major research is in the areas of acting and actor training, drawing on her extensive career as a professional actor working with leading Australian theatre companies and in television. Helen is particularly interested in the creative potential of the actor in performance and her recent book, Creativity: the Actor in Performance, draws together years of  practice and research.


Before joining The University of Tasmania, Helen worked as a professional theatre and screen actor. She has also been a director and devisor of new works.

On graduating from the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts' Acting Course in 1986, Helen worked with many of Australia's leading theatre companies and also worked extensively in television.

Throughout her acting career, Helen increasingly became involved in co-devising and generating new works. Her improvisational and dramaturgical skills were valued by companies such as Arena Youth Theatre, Melbourne Workers' Theatre, and by many independent artists who utilized Helen's theatre-making skills in their own Creative Development projects. Helen's most notable co-devised work, Never a Crossword, featured in two Melbourne fringe festivals and was chosen for radio production by the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC).

In addition to acting and generating new works, Helen has worked as a director. Again this has spanned a range of works, culminating in her co-artistic directorship of the award-winning Noble Rot Theatre Company.

In 2009, Helen was awarded her PhD from the University of Western Australia.

Career summary


DegreeTitle of ThesisUniversityCountryAwarded
PhD University of Western AustaliaAustralia2009
MATheatre PracticeEdith Cowan UniversityAustralia2004
AdvDipPerfA(Acting)  Western Australian Academy of Performing ArtsAustralia1986
BATheatre Arts/EnglishWestern Australian Institute of TechnologyAustralia1983


Teaching expertise

Helen's teaching expertise is in acting and actor training. Based on her research and professional practice, Helen has developed intermediate and advanced-level acting units: Creatics: Acting for Performance (FPB 231/331) and Contemporary Acting Methods (FPB230/330).

She has received a Teaching Merit Award for FPB232/331.

Helen has also developed the cross-disciplinary unit: Creativity: Theories in Practice (FFA 259/359)

Teaching responsibility

View more on Dr Helen Trenos in WARP


  • Acting & Performing
  • Actor Training
  • Creativity

Research Themes

Helen's research aligns to the University's research theme of Creativity, Culture and Society. She has conducted extensive research on the concept of creativity and the factors which have led to its emergence and development as a perceived cultural and economic value. This research has led Helen outside her own discipline and into creativity research conducted by Psychology and Social Anthropology. Her aim in this research was to investigate how current conceptions of creativity can inform and be informed by the creativity of the actor.

In particular, Helen is focussed on the creativity of the actor in performance. In her research and teaching, she makes a crucial distinction between acting in rehearsals and acting in performance, and has identified key competencies necessary for maximising creativity in performance: situation awareness, audience awareness, divided consciousness and presence. How to develop these competencies in actors is ongoing research, which Helen investigates and tests through workshops and in her teaching. This research, to date, has been published as a monograph: Creativity: the actor in performance. Currently, her specific focus is on the divided consciousness of the performer.

Helen also collaborates with researchers and artists from other disciplines. Presently, she is working with a painter to investigate the performativity, and potential theatricality, of painting. She is also collaborating on a project (The Sensory Meal) with Interior Design researchers and students to explore and provoke the sensory experience of dining. The overarching aim of these collaborations is to probe how our own disciplinary concepts, theories and practices can both be informed by and inform those of other disciplines.


Helen was involved with the following ARC LIEF funded project (2009-2010)

AusStage Phase 4: Harnessing collective intelligence and pioneering new visual methodologies for innovative research into Australian live performance.

This was a cross-institutional collaboration involving 18 Australian universities and industry partners.

Current projects

  • Divided Consciousness of the performer
  • The performativity of painting
  • The Sensory Meal

Fields of Research

  • Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies (190404)
  • Interior Design (120106)
  • Dance (190403)
  • Entrepreneurship (150304)
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Performing Arts (190401)
  • Performing Arts and Creative Writing (190499)

Research Objectives

  • The Performing Arts (incl. Theatre and Dance) (950105)
  • Pedagogy (930201)
  • Technological and Organisational Innovation (910406)
  • Conserving Intangible Cultural Heritage (950304)


Total publications


Highlighted publications

(1 outputs)
2014BookTrenos HR, 'Creativity: the actor in performance', De Gruyter, Warsaw/Berlin, pp. 85. ISBN 978-3-11-040210-0 (2014) [Authored Research Book]

[eCite] [Details]

Journal Article

(1 outputs)
2010Trenos HR, 'Creatics: What's Missing in Actor Training?', International Journal of the Arts in Society, 5, (3) pp. 265-274. ISSN 1833-1866 (2010) [Refereed Article]

[eCite] [Details]



(1 outputs)
2014Trenos HR, 'Creativity: the actor in performance', De Gruyter, Warsaw/Berlin, pp. 85. ISBN 978-3-11-040210-0 (2014) [Authored Research Book]

[eCite] [Details]


Conference Publication

(1 outputs)
2015Mate K, Power J, Trenos H, 'A sensory meal: a performative interior design and theatre collaboration', Proceedings of the 8th International Conference and Exhibition of the Association of Architecture Schools of Australasia, 02-03 October 2015, Christchurch, New Zealand, pp. 46-52. ISBN 978-0-473-33710-0 (2015) [Refereed Conference Paper]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Mate K; Power J


Major Creative Work

(4 outputs)
2017Trenos HR, George DER, 'Islamophilia', Melbourne Theatre Company, Lawler Theatre, Southbank Complex, Melbourne, 1, pp. 2 hours 15 minutes (2017) [Performance]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: George DER

2016Mate KJH, Trenos HR, 'The Sensory Meal', Junction Arts Festival 2016, Old Brisbane Arcade, Launceston, Tasmania (2016) [Performance]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Mate KJH

2013Trenos HR, 'Epsom Downs', Tasmanian College of the Arts, Annexe Theatre, Inveresk (2013) [Other Exhibition]

[eCite] [Details]

2009Trenos HR, 'An Enemy of the People', University of Tasmania, CentRstage, Annexe Theatre, University of Tasmania, Launceston (2009) [Performance]

[eCite] [Details]

Other Creative Work

(2 outputs)
2014Trenos HR, 'The Country', Annexe Theatre, Inveresk & Backspace Theatre, Tasmania (2014) [Minor Creative Work]

[eCite] [Details]

2009Trenos HR, 'Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny', SVPA, Launceston, pp. 1 (2009) [Catalogue]

[eCite] [Details]


(1 outputs)
2009Trenos HR, 'The Creativity of Acting' (2009) [PhD]

[eCite] [Details]

Other Public Output

(5 outputs)
2013Trenos HR, 'Interview', Real Time Arts, Open City Inc, Australia, Aug-Sept (2013) [Media Interview]

[eCite] [Details]

2011Trenos HR, 'Calling All Tasmanian Theatre Artists: AusStage', Strata, Independent Publishers Tasmania, Launceston, 3, p. 9. (2011) [Newspaper Article]

[eCite] [Details]

2011Trenos HR, 'Intimate theatre way of future', The Examiner, Launceston, July 20, p. 29. (2011) [Media Interview]

[eCite] [Details]

2009Trenos HR, 'Project set to explore city's arts past', The Sunday Examiner, Examiner, Launceston, August 23 (2009) [Media Interview]

[eCite] [Details]

2009Trenos HR, 'Theory of Creativity: Creatics', Loco, Launceston, 1, 09/10 (2009) [Magazine Article]

[eCite] [Details]

Grants & Funding

Funding Summary

Number of grants


Total funding



Ausstage Phase 4 (2010)$650,000
Australian Research Council ($650,000)
Grant-Linkage Infrastructure
Administered By
Australian Research Council
Research Team
Holledge J; Martin CD; Bollen J; Carlin D; Mullett J; Kelly V; Tompkins J; Trenos HR
Grant Reference

Research Supervision




PhDIm Not Making It Up, Im Interpreting: Adapting the founders and survivors project for drama and web-series
Candidate: Lydia Clare Nicholson
MastersAudience and the Roles They Play in a Postdramatic Experience
Candidate: Grace Claire Roberts
PhDSonorous Theatre - Dark Voices in Revolt: Uniting the Core, Proximity and the Human Voice in Crisis
Candidate: Robert Lewis