Glynis Leyshon

Program Advisory Committee (Temporary Hiatus)
Guest Director - Unity 1918 (2019), Ruddigore (2017), Sense and Sensibility (2014), Dangerous Liaisons (2012)

Glynis Leyshon is one of Canada’s most respected opera and theatre directors. The British Columbia native’s credits in recent seasons have included Lucia di Lammermoor for Pacific Opera Victoria, Mikado for Calgary Opera, Falstaff and Die Fledermaus for Calgary Opera and Opera Hamilton, Albert Herring for Vancouver Opera and Pacific Opera Victoria and Madama Butterfly and La Traviata for Calgary Opera. Her special association with these two companies has also resulted in acclaimed productions of The Rake’s Progress, Barber’s Vanessa, Otello and Simon Boccanegra and Der Fliegende Holländer.

Ms. Leyshon directed productions of Rigoletto for Vancouver Opera and Die Zauberflöte in both Victoria, British Columbia and London, Ontario. Further credits include Cenerentola, The Merry Widow and Tales of Hoffmann for Calgary Opera; Salome and Madama Butterfly for Vancouver Opera; Trial by Jury for Edmonton Opera and Falstaff for Opera Lyra, Ottawa. From 2002-04, Ms. Leyshon was Head of the Opera as Theatre Programme at The Banff Centre where she mounted original opera programmes, created by renowned opera librettist John Murrell, focusing on operatic works based on the plays of Shakespeare.

During her longstanding relationship with Pacific Opera Victoria, Ms. Leyshon has created over 20 new productions. Highlights include Eugene Onegin, Macbeth, two separate productions of Don Giovanni, Pirates of Penzance, and a rare revival of Vittorio Giannini’s The Taming of the Shrew and the Canadian premiere of Blitzstein’s Regina.

While the majority of this operatic work has been in the traditional repertoire, Ms. Leyshon’s experience as a dramaturge and director of new theatre work has led her to develop and direct a number of new opera productions including Game Misconduct by Leslie Uyeda and librettist Tom Cone, which had a successful premier at Festival Vancouver. She has also been invited to workshop a number of contemporary pieces at The Banff Centre and assisted in the preparation of Mary’s Wedding, a new opera based on Stephen Massicotte’s award-winning play for Pacific Opera Victoria’s world premiere in 2011.

As Artistic Director of the Playhouse Theatre Company in Vancouver (1997 – 2009), Ms. Leyshon directed a wide range of work, including a Jessie award-winning production of Equus, Copenhagen with Tony award winner Brent Carver, A Little Night Music, Mrs. Warren’s Profession (co-production with The Citadel Theatre, Edmonton), The Beauty Queen of Lenane (co-production with the National Arts Centre) and Wit (co-production with Canadian Stage, Toronto).

Before the Playhouse, Ms. Leyshon served as Artistic Director of the Belfry Theatre in Victoria for 11 seasons. During her tenure she directed over 25 productions, including national tours of The Ballad of Phil Ochs and was instrumental in heading a capital campaign that allowed the theatre to purchase and renovate a landmark heritage building.

Ms. Leyshon has also been invited to direct for theatre companies across the country, including the hugely successful Gershwin musical Lady Be Good and the rarely mounted Sullivan musical The Zoo for the Shaw Festival. Other theatrical works include the Chalmers award-winning The Hope Slide at the Tarragon Theatre, The Taming of the Shrew at Vancouver’s international Shakespeare festival Bard on the Beach, Vigil for Theatre Calgary, and the world premiers of Warriors by Michel Garneau and Moo by Sally Clark at the international ATP Playrites Theatre Festival. In June of 2008 she premiered a new play, Where the Blood Mixes, at Luminato, Toronto’s Festival of Arts and Creativity and at the Magnetic North Festival in Vancouver.

Ms. Leyshon has a particular passion for working with and teaching young and emerging artists and is the recipient of Canada’s Commonwealth Medal for her contributions to the arts. She has conducted master classes for opera training programmes in Calgary, Victoria, Courtenay, and Banff. In addition to this work, she has also conducted courses at the University of Victoria, William Head Penitentiary, the Victoria Conservatory of Music, and the University of British Columbia, where she serves as an Adjunct Professor.

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photo credit Peter Pokorny