Dr. Helena D. Lewis is an award-winning actress, poet, and playwright. Her one-person show, “Call Me Crazy: Diary of A Mad Social Worker,” chronicles her work in the social service field portraying twenty-five characters from pimps to menopausal women. Call Me Crazy has had over 20 sold-out performances and is the longest running solo-performance theatrical production at the Nuyorican Poets' Cafe in NY. Call Me Crazy was profiled on the National Association of Social Workers’ (NASW) SocialWorkersSpeak website and Rutgers Alumni Magazine. Call Me Crazy is the winner of the AUDELCO 2014 Best Solo-Performance Award, Best Short at the Downtown Urban Theater Festival in NY, and was festival Pick at the inaugural DC Black Theater Festival. Lewis has also performed Call Me Crazy at the NASW-NJ 2012 Annual Conference, Wurzweiler School of Social Work, Kumble Theater at Long Island University, Rutgers University School of Social Work Field Day, and was produced by Urbintel, Inc. in conjunction with the New York Public Library's Schomburg Center in NYC.
Lewis has performed at numerous universities and colleges across the country and has been featured in the award winning series, “Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry.” Lewis is the former writer and original cast member of the performance troupe HERStory and host/coordinator of the Midnight Poetry Jams at the National Black Theater Festival (NBTF) in Winston-Salem, NC. In 2018, after a ten-year run, Lewis ended her popular open-mic poetry improv show, VERSES, at the Nuyorican Poets' Cafe. Lewis was a featured performer at the 2015 Mother Tongue Monologues produced by Black Women’s Blueprint, and can be seen in: “The Cipher;" “Golddigger Killer,” which won Best Short at the Odyssey Awards; “What Goes Around Comes Around;” "Freshman Seminar;" “Art of Love & Struggle: Women in Hip-Hop.”
Her new one-person play, Shenanigans, premiered at the 2015 Down Town Urban Arts Theater Festival (DUATF) in NY at the HERE arts Center. In 2019, Lewis was named the DUATF's first Playwright-In-Residence and her show, SHEnanigans, directed by Rome Neal, was nominated for an AUDELCO for Best Solo-Performance. Lewis is the recipient of the 2019 EMART Theater Services award for her contributions to Black Theater and social work. Helena is currently working on her fourth on-person show based on her work with incarcerated women.
In addition to her career as a performer, Lewis obtained her Doctor of Social Work (DSW) and Master in Social Work (MSW) from Rutgers University. Lewis is also an Licensed Social Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and an Licensed Clinical Alcohol Drug Counselor (LCADC). After obtaining her BA in biology Lewis became a certified HIV/AIDS health educator and developed, implemented and supervised a drop-in center for drug-addicted prostitutes for the Community At Risk Reduction (CARR) Program in Newark, New Jersey. She also spoke at the New Jersey Woman and AIDS Network Annual HIV/AIDS Symposium and her work with prostitutes has been featured on New Jersey News Network. She helped develop a vocational rehabilitation component for a Department of Corrections (DOC) Community Release Program for women. She also spent three years working on a CDC/HRSA Correctional Demonstration Project providing prevention case management to HIV positive male inmates. Ms. Lewis is currently the Substance Abuse Treatment Director for a 51 bed facility for women inmates. For additional information about Lewis' work with incarcerated women please visit her multi-media project, We Are Still Human.