Helen Mintz is an internationally acclaimed solo artist, storyteller, translator (Yiddish to English) and teacher based in Vancouver British Columbia.
Helen’s work bridges traditional storytelling and contemporary solo performance, moving between past and present, between comedy and pathos. Helen brings stories and poems from the rich Yiddish tradition to a non Yiddish speaking audience. Committed to social justice and reconciliation, she shares inspiring tales of individual and social healing, leaving her audience with a renewed feeling of hope.
Helen has toured her one woman shows in Canada, the United States, and Lithuania.
Helen teaches storytelling workshops to children, youth, and adults in large and small groups.
Helen’s performance is rooted in her Jewish identity and her involvement in social justice work. She shares stories of forgiveness and reconciliation. She tells inspiring tales of individual and social healing, shining light into darkness and leaving her audience with a renewed feeling of hope. The healing stories Helen tells include traditional tales, memoirs of the Holocaust, stories about both the rebuilding of South Africa and the movement for peace and human rights in Israel and Palestine, and stories about the struggle for gay and lesbian rights.
Helen began performing to share Eastern European Jewish experience with both Jewish and non Jewish audiences, telling family stories she learned as a child. She then set out in search of the stories she was never told, doing research, studying the Yiddish language and working with Jewish seniors. Helen’s original versions of traditional Jewish stories have been published, recorded, and are told my many other tellers.
Helen’s career as a performer was launched in a “cupboard” when she performed as a last minute entry in the 1993 Vancouver Women in View festival. There she was “discovered” by Barbara Crook, the Vancouver Sun theatre critic. Crook wrote, Helen Mintz’ solo show is a beautifully written tribute to human survival in general and to the strength of women in particular. Mintz blends moments of humour with images of unity and empowerment.
Helen has undertaken intensive study of the Yiddish language including study at the University of Vilnius in Lithuania and at the YIVO summer Yiddish program in New York. She translates Yiddish literary works into English.
Helen has toured in Canada, the United States, and Lithuania. Helen performed in New York at a conference on Women in Yiddish; at the 11th annual Gay and Lesbian Theatre Festival in Seattle; and at the British Columbia annual provincial restorative justice conference at Ferndale Correctional Institution She has been a featured artist at numerous storytelling festivals in Vancouver, Toronto, Sechelt and Seattle and enjoyed three different runs at the Vancouver Women in View festival where she played to sold-out audiences and standing ovations. Helen’s work has been broadcast on radio and television both in Canada and the United States.
Helen has taught storytelling to countless adults, youth, and children in schools, colleges, and at conferences and festivals. She was an artist in residence for the Vancouver School Board for four years. She regularly teaches a storytelling class in the continuing education department of Langara College.