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Since training at Auckland's influential Theatre Corporate, New Zealand actor Jennifer Ward-Lealand has worked extensively in theatre, film and television for over 30 years.  She has excelled in both dramatic and comedic roles, as well as numerous roles in musical theatre and cabaret.

As an accomplished singer, she presents her own shows, Falling in Love Again and The Look of Love, Evocative/Provocative, at festivals and venues in New Zealand and Australia.  She has recorded Falling in Love Again to cd (click here for info).  She is also in demand as a tutor of musical theatre.

Jennifer was a founding board member of the Watershed Theatre and a co-founder of The Large Group and The Actors' Program. She is currently President of Equity New Zealand, Patron of Q Theatre, and serves as a trust board member of Arts Regional Trust, Silo Theatre, Clarence St. Theatre, and Actors Benevolent Fund. In the 2007 New Years Honours List, she was named an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit "for services to theatre and the community." 

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Jennifer is Starring in Lysistrata  

Jennifer is Kalonike in Michael Hurst's adaptation of Aristophanes' Lysistrata for Auckland Theatre Company, at Q Theatre from 30 June 2015.  It also stars Amanda Billing (as Lysistrata), Sia Trokenheim, Darien Takle, Hannah Tasker-Poland, Cameron Rhodes, Fasitua Amosa, Andrew Grainger, Paul Glover, Peter Hayden, Lucinda Hare and Nomi Cohen, with direction by Michael Hurst, set design by Rachel Walker, choreography by Shona McCullagh, music by John Gibson, and costume design by Troy Garton. 

Click here for info and to book.  See rehearsal photos on ATC's Facebook page.


NZ Herald: "Speaking across a gulf of 2400 years, Aristophanes' raunchy comic fantasy  ... delivers an emphatic affirmation of sassy, get-it-girl empowerment ... The superb 13-member cast throw themselves into the robustly physical staging as they prance and cavort in various stages of undress".

Theatreview:  "Hurst has, in his inimitable style, grabbed Aristophanes' play firmly by the goolies and given it a thoroughly good shake up and this modern treatment really works ... the music is at once magical and intense. It serves the singing, which is a real feature of this production, and also the carefully integrated choreography ... and highlights the many and varied abilities of this multi-talented cast. ... The evening is full of star turns ... Jennifer Ward-Lealand is a tip-top Kalonike... it's a no-brainer that you should go and see it".  

: "Michael Hurst loosely updates the text, throws in some 7th Century lyric poetry for the Classics nerds, packs it with physical gags, and makes a joke of explaining archaic references whenever they come up.  You might be surprised how much of it remains Aristophanes ... This Hurstified Lysistrata is virile, cheeky, over-the-top, and completely delivers on its promise of entertainment.  The most fun you can have in a theatre this winter".


To convince their men folk to end the Peloponnesian War, Lysistrata encourages the women of Athens and Sparta to abstain from sex with their husbands and partners.  This strategy leads to an all-out war between the sexes and some hard bargaining from the boys, but first the women have to overcome some challenges, not least the call of their own desires.

Michael Hurst and his creative team unleash their talents on another sensationally sexy stage spectactular, breathing fresh life into Aristophanes' timeless text.  Provocative, risqué, as relevant as ever.

Jennifer to Sing in From Broadway to La Scala

Jennifer will sing with Teddy Tau Rhodes, David Hobson, and Greta Bradman in the New Zealand tour of From Broadway to La Scala, with a special guest appearance by Dame Malvina Major and direction by Tyran Parke.  It will be performed in Auckland on 18 September 2015 (note change of date) in the Great Hall of Auckland Town Hall (click here to book) and in Christchurch on 20 September at the Isaac Theatre Royal (click here to book).  See the show's Facebook page.

From the press release: "From Puccini to Rodgers and Hammerstein, Bizet to Gershwin, and Verdi to Cole Porter, this unique concert experience will feature many of the greatest songs, arias, and duets of the past two centuries, performed by these highly acclaimed contemporary singers and featuring the country's finest orchestras".


Jennifer Appears on Re-Think


will be on the panel on Re-Think, 30 August 2015, 9:30 a.m. on TV3, talking about the health of theatre in New Zealand.

She was previously on the show on 26 July talking about her viewpoint and experiences as a Paheka speaker of Te Reo Maori.  Click here to watch it online.

Jennifer and George Henare Recite Shakespeare Sonnet in English and Maori

For Te Wiki o Te Reo (Maori Language Week), Jennifer and George Henare recited Shakespeare Sonnet 18 in English and Te Reo Maori for Mana Magazine.  Directed by Benjamin Brooking, produced by Simon Day; with special thanks to Q Theatre.

Recent Work

Panelist on Re-Think talking about being a Pakeha speaker of Te Reo (TV3, 26 July; watch online)
Pat Murdoch, Anna Murdoch, Rebekah Brooks, and ensemble in Rupert, Auckland Theatre Company (29 June-19 July)
Narrator on Find Me a Maori Bride, episodes 1.1-1.8 (Maori TV)
Host of Himalayan Trust Art Auction fundraiser (5 June)
Singing with Jubilation at A Strange Day's Night (fundraiser for Play it Strange Trust; 3-4 June)
Co-producer/director, Fallout: The Sinking of the Rainbow Warrior for The Large Group/Last Tapes Theatre Company (20-30 May)
Guest Artist at An Evening with George Henare, fundraiser for Newmarket Stage Company (23 May)
Jan (né James) Morris in Nepal Memories fundraiser for Himalayan Trust's Rebuild Appeal (reading; 17 May)
Singing in The Anzac Concert – Arohaina Mai, Maori TV (26 April)
Teaching 'Flying Solo' for The Actors' Program (1-2 April)
Speaking to Royal Oak Ladies Probus Club (20 April)
Teaching 'The Craft of Acting' for The Actors' Program (1-2 April)


J E N N I F E R   W A R D - L E A L A N D   O F F I C I A L   W E B S I T E
        Acknowledgements & Thanks                    Click here for contact information.