Leslie’s background is Architecture. This, combined with interests in literature, history and fashion, led her to design for the theatre. In 1980 Leslie attended the Banff School of Fine Arts to translate her architectural training into theatre design. She continued her training with three Canada Council for the Arts independent study grants. Since then Leslie has designed over 130 productions for major theatres across Canada, garnering 35 nominations for outstanding theatre design for her work in both set and costume design. Two of her set designs have been presented at the Prague Quadrennial, International Theatre Exhibition.
In designing both set and costumes Leslie endeavors to create a unique visual vernacular specific to each play.
“The set and costumes should make meaningful connections to the artistic vision of playwright and director. The designer’s contribution is far more than merely providing historically appropriate backdrops and clothing.
The design should provide an intellectually and emotionally informative context for the play. Whether by large gesture or subtle nuance the design contributes to the sculpting of a resonant experience for the audience.”
Some of Leslie’s most notable Set and Costume Designs include:
- National Arts Centre: Arms and the Man and Hard Times both directed by Marti Maraden; Claptrap and Present Laughter directed by Bob Baker
- Canadian Stage Company: Angels in America I and II, Into the Woods, La Bete and Singer directed by Bob Baker
- Citadel Theatre: Measure for Measure, Servant of Two Masters, Christmas Carol and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof directed by Bob Baker
- Shaw Festival: Misalliance (1990), Pygmalion (1992), The Lady’s Not For Burning and Lulu directed by Christopher Newton; The Petrified Forest and All My Sons directed by Neil Munro; Mrs. Warren’s Profession and Ivona directed by Tadeusz Bradecki
- Vancouver Playhouse: A Little Night Music directed by Glynis Leyshon; The Caretaker directed by Bill Dow and Hosanna directed by Peter Hinton