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UPCOMING       |  cabarets:  Falling In Love Again | The Look of Love 

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 is Auntie Pie in The Book of Everything

Following a critically-acclaimed and sold-out season in the 2015 Auckland Arts Festival, plus awards for Excellence and Best Ensemble in the 2015 Auckland Theatre Awards, Silo Theatre's The Book of Everything will return to Q Theatre in Auckland on 12-25 February 2016.  Click here to book.

The show will then go on tour:

4-5 March – New Plymouth
TSB Showplace – book

8-9 March – Palmerston North
Regent on Broadway – book

12-13 March – Napier
Municipal Theatre – book

18-19 March – Hamilton
Founders Theatre – book

Jennifer is reprising her role as Auntie Pie.  The play also features performances by Amanda Billing, Michelle Blundell, Patrick Carroll, Stephen Lovatt, Dan Musgrove, Rima Te Wiata and Amanda Tito, with direction by Sophie Roberts, and design by John Verryt, Kirsty Cameron, Thomas Press, and Sean Lynch.  The play was adapted by Richard Tulloch from the novel by Guus Kuijer.

" … marvellously complex and devastatingly simple, summing up some of life’s most difficult issues in a handful of words. … It is significant.  It is needed.  It is everything"  (Sam Brooks, Pantograph Punch)

" … a highly accomplished cast … Jennifer Ward-Lealand is lovable, just slightly odd Auntie Pie (pronounced Pee), her candour representing the rise of the ensuing battle for women's rights in a man's world … It is quite the cerebral workout, albeit so entertaining that said workout is an ease and a pleasure; the two hours fairly fly by"  (Nik Smythe, Theatreview)

"… superbly presented … a truly great show … I know, I'm raving.  I don't always, not by any means.  But this one, I loved" (Simon Wilson, Metro)

Jennifer Directs The Choice

Jennifer directed The Choice by Darlene Mohekey and Jess Sayer, now on in the Lido Lounge at The Blue Baths in Rotorua, 22 January-26 February 2016.  Click here for the press release; click here to book.


Theatre Scenes:  "Wickedly written, slickly performed and cleverly directed to parody the current talent show phenomenon that dominates our airwaves, The Choice is undoubtedly the funniest show I’ve seen for a long, long time. … The collective skill, enthusiasm and wit displayed by the talented bunch on stage demonstrated sheer versatility and professionalism, making it an inspiration and joy to watch.  Director Jennifer Ward-Lealand’s detailed attention to character development, as well her uncanny ability to curate the show with nicely timed crescendos and de-crescendos, helped take us as audience members on an entertaining, as well as emotional journey, due to its subtle and intelligent execution".

Theatreview:  "With a cast of 6 talented and versatile performers, this weird and wonderful show is an entertaining winner. … performers show their versatility with amazing singing and dancing talents. … the entire show is absolutely ‘Choice'. It is a most entertaining evening".

Forget X-Factor, forget New Zealand's Got Talent.  This is The Choice – a weirdly wonderful talent show unlike any other.  Laugh, cry and cringe till you can't cringe no more, as five fearless actors take on all of the characters you love and those you love to hate.  Broadcast live on air (but not really), this immersive new show leaves you, the live studio audience, to select the winner each night.

Featuring choreography by Taiaroa Royal, The Choice will star a cast of Blue Baths favourites including Jay Chasland, Rutene Spooner, Bronwyn Turei, Aaron Ward, Tainui Kuru, and musical director Darlene Mohekey.

Jennifer is Donna Rafferty in Dirty Laundry

Jennifer is heading up the cast of the new drama series Dirty Laundry, now being filmed, to air on TVOne later in the year.  Tai Berdinner-Blades, Tim Carlsen, and Victoria MacCulloch are playing her children.

From the New Zealand Herald:

"In the series, Ward-Lealand's character Donna has been channelling ill-gotten gains through various businesses for years, but when the police cart her off to the slammer, the revelation mum is a doyenne of crime comes as a compete surprise to her family.

"The shell-shocked Raffertys are left to fend for themselves and face the possibility they can't afford their comfortable middle-class lifestyle".

Click here for the whole article.

Recent Work

Singing with Jubilation choir at Kiwis on Board fundraiser for Syrian refugee settlement (23 January)
Host of Auckland Theatre Awards (7 December)
Host of Whitecliffe Fashion Show 2015 (21 November)
Host of Te Wananga o Aotearoa Leadership Summit (16-17 November)
Singing with Jubilation choir at Q Theatre (7 November) and The Vic (14 November)
Performing Falling in Love Again at Hawke's Bay Arts Festival (4 November)
Speaker at Wellington East Girls' College 90th Reunion (24 October)
Chair of Equity NZ's Green Room (18 October)
Speaker at Equity NZ's Graduate Day (18 October)
Visiting vocal coach at the University of Canterbury School of Music, Christchurch (14-15 October)
Teaching The Craft of Acting for an Equity Foundation workshop (Christchurch, 7 October)
Host of Rangatahi Philharmonia o Tara launch/concert (7 October)
Judge for Short + Sweet Auckland Song & Cabaret (26 September)
Singer in From Broadway to La Scala in Auckland (18 September) and Christchurch Arts Festival (20 September)
Host of Beads of Courage Ball, Child Cancer Foundation (19 September)
Director of workshop and playreading of Te Puhi, Going West Festival (9 September)


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.