Jennifer Ward-LealandSince training at Auckland’s influential Theatre Corporate, New Zealand actor Jennifer Ward-Lealand has worked extensively in theatre, film and television for over 40 years. She has excelled in both dramatic and comedic roles, as well as numerous roles in musical theatre and cabaret.  She is a fully qualified Intimacy Coordinator (Intimacy on Set, UK), is on the SAG-AFTRA Intimacy Coordinator Registry, and has worked on over 60 productions spanning TV drama, comedy, feature film, theatre and opera. Jennifer is in demand as a tutor of masterclasses for actors, singers and choirs.

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, Te Manu Tīoriori Trust and Theatre New Zealand, and serves as a trust board member of the Actors Benevolent Fund. 

In the 2007 New Year’s Honours List, Jennifer was named an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for services to theatre and the community. In 2018 she was named SPADA Industry Champion and in the 2019 New Year’s Honours List, she was named a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM) for services to theatre, film and television and presented with a Woman of Influence Award (for arts and culture). Jennifer was named as the Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year 2020. 

As an accomplished singer, she presents her cabaret Falling in Love Again (as Marlene Dietrich in concert), Delicious Oblivion and Rock Follies Forever at festivals and venues in New Zealand and Australia. She has recorded Falling in Love Again to cd (click here for info). 

Jennifer has been a keen student and champion of te reo Māori since 2008, and in 2017 was gifted the name Te Atamira (The Stage) by Sir Tīmoti Kāretu and the late Prof Te Wharehuia Milroy.