Associate Professor of Theater
Helene Siebrits is an Associate Professor of Costume Design and Head of the Costume Program at Ohio University. She has worked as a costume designer and draper in theatre, opera, dance, and film. Helene has also created illustrations for publication. She has designed and created costumes for a wide range of genres including contemporary plays, musicals, Shakespeare plays, opera, film, and dance. At Ohio University Helene has designed costumes for the School of Dance, Theater and Film. Helene has also had the privilege to design costumes for the inaugural season and second season of Tantrum Theater.
Currently, Helene is working with Amrita Performing Arts Artistic Director, Chey Chankethya, on two new dance narratives that will be performed in China and Japan. Helene will also work with Amrita Performing Arts performers, opera director Peter Sellars, and conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen on Persephone(Stravinsky) at the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 2019.
Recently, Helene collaborated with the iconoclastic opera director, Peter Sellars, on Oedipus Rex and Symphony of Psalms (Stravinsky) at the Baltic Sea Festival in Stockholm, the Royal Festival Hall in London and the Festival International d’Art Lyrique d’Aix en Provence. Helene has also collaborated with Peter Sellars on the double-bill production of Iolanta/Persephone(Tchaikovsky/Stravinsky) for Opéra de Lyon, Festival International d’Art Lyrique d’Aix en Provence, and the Teatro Real in Madrid. Helene has previously collaborated with Peter Sellars on productions at the Metropolitan Opera of New York, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, La Salle Pleyel in Paris, the Sydney Opera House, the Luzerner Theatre in Switzerland and Santa Fe Opera.
Helene has designed costumes regionally at the Latino Theatre in Los Angeles, the Illinois Shakespeare Festival, the South Coast Repertory Theater, Texas Shakespeare Festival, West Virginia Public Theatre, and Festival Antigonish in Nova Scotia. As a costume draper Helene has created bespoke costumes for respected designers including Paul Brown, Claire Mitchell, Robert Innes Hopkins, Gideon Davey, Dunya Ramicova and Martin Pakledinaz. Helene’s costume creations have been seen on the stage at several venues in North America and world-wide. Helene has draped costumes at companies including Shakespeare Santa Cruz, California Shakespeare, American Musical Theater in San Jose, and Santa Fe Opera. Helene’s design aesthetic is informed by a deep understanding of costume construction.
At Ohio University, Helene’s teaching is focused on fostering collaboration amongst the theatre disciplines and on the building of excellent design skills. Helene teaches foundational drawing and design, intermediate and advanced rendering, text analysis for designers, and costume history. Helene is particularly interested in the cross-disciplinary approach to design solutions for set, lighting, projection, and costumes.
Helene’s research interests include capacity building in the performing arts. She is committed to the design training of individuals traditionally underrepresented in the theatre design disciplines. In 2013, Helene received a USITT fellowship to investigate the on-going endeavor to re-build the performing arts in Cambodia. Her research focuses on traditional costume design in Cambodia, the emergence of new performing arts narratives in Cambodia, and the training of a new generation of Cambodian designers. Helene received an OURC grant from Ohio University in 2017 to continue her research of scenographic practices in Cambodia and collaborate on new Cambodian narratives for the stage.
Helene received her MFA in Design from the UCLA School of Theatre, Film, and Television. She holds a BA in Theatre, Magna Cum Laude from UCLA and a BA in Fashion Design and Technology from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Helene is a member of United Scenic Artists Local 829 and an active member of USITT.