Helen Morse

Helen Morse (born 24 January 1947) is an English-born Australian actress who has appeared in films, on television and on stage. She won the AFI (AACTA) Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for the 1976 film Caddie, and starred in the 1981 miniseries A Town Like Alice. Her other film appearances include Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975), Agatha (1979), Far East (1982) and The Eye of the Storm (2011).

Early life

Morse was born in Harrow on the Hill, Middlesex, England in 1947. She was the oldest of four children; her parents were a doctor and nurse. She moved to Australia in 1950 with her family. She attended school at Presbyterian Ladies' College in Burwood, Victoria, and graduated from at the National Institute of Dramatic Art in 1965, and trained with Brian Syron in Sydney.

Career overview

Morse won the Australian Film Institute Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her performance in the 1976 film Caddie. Her notable screen performances also include roles in the film Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975) and the television miniseries A Town Like Alice. Since her early work with Jim Sharman in the 1960s and 70s – A Taste of Honey, Terror Australis, As You Like It. Morse has worked in over ninety theatre productions. Morse had roles on many television productions, including three episodes of The Doctor Blake Mysteries in 2014 (Series 2), 2015 (Series 3), and 2016 (Series 4).

Personal life

Morse was married from 1967 until 1976 to Australian actor and director Sandy Harbutt, with whom she starred in Stone.


Morse has worked with many companies including Melbourne Theatre Company, The Ensemble, The Independent, Nimrod Theatre Company, Marian Street, Sydney Theatre Company, Hunter Valley Theatre Company, Queensland Theatre Company, Harvest Theatre Company (South Australia) and the State Theatre Company of South Australia.

In 2002 and again in 2008, Morse played the role of Theodora Goodman in Adam Cook's adaptation of Patrick White's The Aunt's Story. Her 2004 performance as Nancy in Bryony Lavery's Frozen for the Melbourne Theatre Company earned her a Helpmann Award for Best Female Actor in a Play nomination. She has since been nominated for productions of John by Annie Baker (Melbourne Theatre Company), and Memorial by Alice Oswald (Brink Productions). In 2020, she won a Green Room Award for her performance in 33 Variations by Moises Kaufman (Cameron Lukey and Neil Gooding Productions).

Other theatre credits include
  • Terror Australis
  • A Taste of Honey
  • The Woman in the Window by Alma De Groen
  • Stephen Sondheim's A Little Night Music
  • Stephanie Abrahams in Duet for One
  • Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire
  • Title role in Hedda Gabler
  • Katherine Mansfield in The Rivers of China
  • Barbara in Europe by Michael Gow
  • Carlotta in The Cherry Orchard
  • Ariel in The Tempest
  • Lizzie Morden in Our Country's Good
  • Elizabeth Proctor in The Crucible
  • Hannah in Arcadia by Tom Stoppard
  • Away by Michael Gow
  • Good Works by Nick Enright
  • The Twilight Series FED/FEST
  • Death and the Maiden with Sydney Theatre Company
  • The Funniest Man in the World with Keene/Taylor Theatre Projects
  • Kaddish with Keene/Taylor Theatre Projects
  • Sundowner by Kate and David Denborough, 2013 national tour
  • Once in Royal David's City by Michael Gow, 2014 Belvoir
  • Angels in America by Tony Kushner, 2017 staged at Fortyfivedownstairs theatre in Melbourne
  • 33 Variations by Moises Kaufman, 2020 Comedy Theatre Melbourne


  • Twelfth Night (1966) as Olivia
  • You Can't See Round Corners (1967) (TV series)
  • Contrabandits (1967) as Angela Carrol
  • Homicide (1967–1972) (TV series) (three episodes)
  • Riptide (1969) as Joanna Decker
  • The Legend of Robin Hood (1971) (TV animation) (voice: Maid Marian)
  • Spyforce (1971) (TV series, two episodes) as Joan
  • The Kenneth Connor Show (1972) various roles
  • Marco Polo (1972) (TV animation) (voice)
  • Crisis (1972) (TV)
  • Barrier Reef (1972) (TV) as Joan Norris
  • Matlock Police (1972) (TV) as Susan Williams
  • Marion (1974) (TV series) as Marion Richards
  • Division 4 (1969–1974) (TV series) (six episodes)
  • Ryan (1973–1974) (TV series, two episodes)
  • Stone (1974) as Amanda (also costume designer)
  • Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975) as Mlle de Poitiers
  • Luke's Kingdom (1976) (TV series) as Kate
  • Caddie (1976) as Caddie Marsh
  • Agatha (1979) as Evelyn Crawley
  • A Town Like Alice (1981) (TV series) as Jean Paget
  • Far East (1982) as Jo Reeves
  • Silent Reach (1983) (TV series) as Antonia Russell
  • Out of Time (1984) (Television feature) as Iris/Sammie
  • Pozières (2000)
  • Lost (2000) as Mrs Harris
  • The Prime Minister is Missing (2008) (TV documentary) Narrator
  • The Eye of the Storm (2011) as Lotte
  • The Mystery of a Hansom Cab (2012, ABC1) as Mother Guttersnipe
  • Downriver (2015) as Mary
  • Barracuda (2016 ABC TV series) as Margot