Having grown up in the Nelson Algren-Saul Bellow area of Chicago's northwest side, Jeff Helgeson is a graduate of The University of Chicago and the author of more than fifteen plays which have been produced in Chicago, St. Louis, Milwaukee, and New York. He is also the author of a novel titled Thresholds and numerous short stories. Originally concentrating on the writing of fiction, he began writing for the stage following a correspondence with motion picture actor Kirk Douglas in which, after suggesting an idea for a film, he was invited to submit a screenplay to Mr. Douglas' agent. Eventually adapting that script to the stage, he was commissoned to write an adaptation of Bret Hart's "The Outcasts of Polker Flat" by a local theatre company, and then received commissions for additional scripts.
Between 1979 and 1984, Jeff Helgeson wrote five full-length plays that were produced in Chicago area theatres. He was a founding member of The Chicago Alliance of Playwrights and has been the drama chairman for The Society of Midwest Authors, as well as an awards panelist for The City of Chicago Arts Council. He has also served on the advisory boards of both Chicago's Boxer Rebellion Ensemble and Backstage Theatre.
Jeff Helgeson has taught at Columbia College, The Art Institute of Chicago, The Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, Robert Morris College, Roosevelt University, and St. Augustine College.
In 1984, as an outgrowth of his university teaching and long-standing committment to the liberal arts, Helgeson established Collage Productions as a means of providing grass-roots support to local performing arts organizations as well as afforadable access to the arts.
Jeff Helgeson has been a regular contributor to the publication of The Chicago Arts Coalition, and, for over ten years, he was the administrative advisor to Roosevelt University's literary magazine, The Oyez Review. He has produced and/or directed plays by both Emmy Award winning broadcast journalist Gera-Lynn Kolarik and Poetry Slam founder Marc Smith. He has also appeared on both radio and television broadcasts to discuss projects presented by Collage Productions.
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