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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." 

Follow Jennifer

Jennifer Stars in Rupert

Jennifer is playing Anna Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks in the Auckland Theatre Company production of Rupert by David Williamson, at Q Theatre from 25 June 2015.  Also featuring Stuart Devenie, Stephen Lovatt, Simon Prast, Adam Gardiner, Hera Dunleavy, Damien Avery, and Arlo MacDiarmid, directed by Colin McColl.

Jennifer will be on TVNZ's Good Morning on Tuesday 30 June to talk about Rupert.


Theatreview:  "optimum clarity within a wholly complex and relentlessly forward-moving tale.  The excellent ensemble cast comes to the party ... Production-wise it's a veritable Hollywood-style variety show complete with intermittent Sinatra song-and-dance numbers, choreographed in classic glitzy cabaret style"

NZ Herald:  "It's fun seeing a large cast of experienced talent being put through their comic paces ... Hugely entertaining"

Metro:  "There are some brilliant cameos ... A wigged Jennifer Ward-Lealand makes for an uncanny Rebekah Brooks ... Rupert entertains while it informs ... it’s entertainment"

Theatre Scenes:  "Rupert encapsulates a multitude of genres – it's a story, biography, cabaret, comedy, adventure, cartoon, love stories, political thriller ... even the odd hiccup with corpsing, weird teeth and dropped eyebrows were cleverly and nimbly incorporated into the hilarity being dished out, gems which only live theatre can provide ... The show is pure entertainment"

Rupert Murdoch, the most powerful media magnate in modern history, takes a cabaret-style romp down memory lane to give us his cleverly crafted version of his life.  Watch as Rupert tap-dances his way to early success across the ditch, discos towares his big American breakthroughs, shares a fiery pos-Falklands tango with Margaret Thatcher, and charms some of the most powerful players of the twentieth century.

Rupert is a scintillating celebration of avarice, acumen, and the life styles of the super-rich and famous.  With legends and larrikins, song and dance, Williamson's irreverent and irresistible exposé of media, money, power, and politics is sure to be 2015's maverick theatrical event.  Scandalously audacious!

Click here for info and to book.

Jennifer Narrates Find Me a Maori Bride

Jennifer is the narrator of new tv series Find Me a Maori Bride.  The comedy, from the creators of Auckland Daze, is about Tama (Cohen Holloway) and George (Matariki Whatarau), a pair of metrosexual Maori men on a quest to find themselves an authentic Maori bride.  Also starring Amanda Billing, Siobhan Marshall, and Te Kohe Tuhaka.  See the show's Facebook page.

NZ Herald:  "Must-see TV ... a hilariously earnest voice-over from Jennifer Ward-Lealand ... our new favourite show and it's a likely candidate for local comedy of the year"

Yahoo NZ:  "very smart and self-aware take on the stereotypes and perceptions of Maori culture.  Maori TV's brief is to blend culture with entertainment and Find Me a Maori Bride fits that bill perfectly.  Jennifer Ward-Lealand provides a pitch-perfect narration for the sharply observed series"

Stuff:  "Genius on multiple levels ... almost certainly going to be the best Kiwi comedy on television this year ... crying with laughter ... There's no better way of spending your Friday night by tuning in to the latest episide"

Find Me a Maori Bride premiered Friday, 22 May 2015 and will continue showing Fridays at 8 p.m. on Maori TV.  Click here to watch the first episodes online.

Jennifer to Star in Lysistrata

Jennifer will play Kallonike in Michael Hurst's adaptation of Aristophanes' Lysistrata for Auckland Theatre Company, at Q Theatre from 30 June 2015.  It will also feature Amanda Billing (as Lysistrata), Sia Trokenheim, Darien Takle, Hannah Tasker-Poland, Cameron Rhodes, Fasitua Amosa, Andrew Grainger, Paul Glover, 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.

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 spectactual, breathing fresh life into Aristophanes' timeless text.  Provocative, risqué, and as relevant as ever.

Recent Work

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)
Singing with Jubilation a cappella gospel choir at Unitarian Church, Ponsonby (29 March)
Connie White in My Name is Gary Cooper rehearsed reading for FCC (28 March)
Auntie Pie in The Book of Everything for Silo Theatre/Auckland Arts Festival (14-22 March)
Panelist on 'Mental Wellness in the Performing Arts' at PANNZ Arts Market (10 March)
Host, Skin of Fire, Auckland Arts Festival (7 March)
Judge, One Night Stand play festival at The Basement (6 March)
Director, performer, and host, Black Dog Relief – A Cabaret for Robbie Tripe (1 March)


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.