Cultural Icons

Conversations with iconic people


Michael Hurst and Jennifer Ward-Lealand

“Theatre is a place of true communion, the exchange of energy and ideas…it’s like a dirty church”

Preview / 00:01:06

Full Episode / 00:46:33

In This Episode

This is a wonderfully candid Cultural Icons programme with two icons of New Zealand film and theatre, Michael Hurst and Jennifer Ward-Lealand. 

Having taken part in scores of interviews, both together and individually, this is the first time the husband and wife thespians have interviewed each other.  There is an obvious shared passion for the theatre and palpable energy present as they discuss the development of their craft, including early theatrical experiences (Michael: slaying dragons at primary school, Jennifer: feeling physically electrified at an amateur dramatics rehearsal), individual and shared involvement with Theatre Corporate, performances at The Mercury Theatre, Frontline, Centrepoint, The Watershed, Q Theatre, television/film production plus much more.

In 2003, Michael Hurst was awarded an Arts Foundation of New Zealand Laureate Award. He was later designated an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) in 2005 for services to film and the theatre.

Jennifer Ward-Lealand’s contribution to New Zealand theatre was recognised in 2006 when she was also designated an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for services to theatre and the community.