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Mark Hellman

Discipline: Interdisciplinary, Storytelling, Theatre
Homebase: Victoria
Languages: English
Contact Me: (250) 634-3580 , Email , Web

Mark's career as a multi-disciplinary artist, independent producer and applied arts specialist spans almost four decades. A founding member of Victoria's acclaimed Story Theatre (1981-84), he has performed in thousands of schools across Canada and the US. He has delivered hundreds of workshops across Canada, in schools and communities, for all ages/levels of ability, and has designed a vast array of innovative projects focused on curriculum enhancement, public education and community-building. Two primary objectives connect artistic vision with process: promoting diversity (tolerance, inclusion, empowerment) and encouraging adaptation (civic engagement, cross-cultural dialogue, creative problem solving) as the means to a truly collaborative outcome. Mark's workshops and residencies are primarily skills-based and experiential, and are focused on Language Arts development (oral skills leading to written skills), and integrating the BC curriculum's core competencies at every level. He is fully prepared for every aspect of creating a residency: from initial consultation, to budgeting and grant writing, to scheduling and implementation. Recently, Mark conducted two residencies at Eagleview Elementary in Port Hardy, combining improvisation, story telling, and creating an on-going juggling club. Serving the Capital Regional District, Vancouver Island and Gulf Islands.


Mark was respectful of my time, organized and had the patience necessary to deal with teens that don't always follow through despite their best intentions. Without exception, every student of mine who participated had an enriching experience. Mark was able to coax out of them their creative best, not only in the interview process, but in the production of their finished product. Students also formed a relationship with the alumni association housed at the school, whereas prior to their involvement, the alumni office and archives were a rather irrelevant and foreign part of the school. I was happy to be a very small part of this process and commend Mark for his vision and perseverance. Jim Pine, Victoria High School
The children were in their own familiar surroundings and able to feel safe and comfortable enough to discuss the play as well as use abstract thought and relate some of the instances to their own self or circumstances. It was very interactive and I was amazed at just how many kids became involved in the discussion. It was quite obvious they had a keen interest in the topics and that they were engaged in the process of the play as they were able to recall various parts of it... It was a pleasure to be there and keep up the good work Mark! Tara Folk, Community Rep., Restorative Justice Group, Pender Island School (RJ Role Play workshop)

Project Examples

A Hive of Arts and Culture

Transform your entire school into a "hive" of arts and culture, comprised of student-generated theatre, storytelling, music, dance and visual arts. This exciting new festival format uses multiple non-traditional performing spaces to present works both large and small. Audiences split up to attend a number of performances simultaneously. The hive lasts 2-3 days (for in-school community or community at large) and may also act as a fundraiser. Planning starts with brief workshops and consultations (determining thematic elements, timeframe), followed by creation sessions (play building) and a production period. Students are encouraged to seek course credit for their participation.

Shakespeare for All

Combining performance-demonstration with hands-on games and exercises, this innovative approach to Shakespeare focuses on experiential learning and oral skill development as essential components of language arts - anyone over the age of 10 can benefit from learning to "play Shakespeare"! Using excerpts, monologues, soliloquies, scene fragments and/or entire plays, students discover their own unique interpretation(s) of the text/play, engaging mind, body, emotions and intuitive processes as the means to exploring critical thinking, dramatic irony, point of view, collective problem solving and synergy. Short-term or long-term residencies are adapted to Elementary, Middle or Secondary environments.

Storytelling and Play Making Through play student

Through play students experience the stories that live all around us and within each of us, while learning new skills, discovering new modes for self-expression and exploring new directions in collaboration. Using improvisational storytelling games, students learn to collectively, spontaneously create stories, which can be recorded or documented, and then published, performed or turned into other art works, school projects, etc. Using curriculum-based materials, students transform narrative into a script to be acted out in class or shared with classmates and community. Other art forms and media are easily integrated as desired, and as time and conditions allow.

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