After a lifetime of directing plays, Liesl pivoted to writing for film and television, and in May 2019, she graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. She is a scriptwriter, dramaturg, and Jessie award-winning director, focusing mainly on developing and creating new works.
In 2020, Liesl was the Facilitator for scriptwriting workshops for three companies in Vancouver, Wet Ink Collective – empowering women writers, Realwheels – creating opportunities for people with disabilities, and Western Gold – celebrating the talents of senior professional theatre artists. Also at Realwheels, Liesl was the dramaturg for their inaugural Playwright in Residence in the fall of 2020.
In April 2020, Liesl completed a third year as dramaturg and producer for the University of British Columbia’s Brave New Play Rites Festival, presenting twenty-two short plays. Last year, she also hosted the series of events as they were forced to move online.
Liesl practices Conflict Theatre @ UBC – born of the methods of Augusto Boal. This group is an initiative of the UBC Human Resources and Theatre Departments, and she also volunteers there as Script Maven, helping to format and maintain their play script library.
Recent productions of her original plays include The Republic of Inclusion – a short autobiographical one-person comedy about the isolation of disability, which she also performed, at Judith Fair 2020. A Splendid Place – a full-length comedy about end of life options, which had an online public reading with The Canadian Play Thing 2020. The Gravedigger’s Daughter – a short horror about feminism in 1787, which had a reading at Stage Writes UBC, and online public readings with PGC World Theatre Day Play Reading Relay and the Firecracker Department. Auntie Christmas – a seasonal comedy about cultural diversity, which had a reading with Brave New Play Rites Festival 2019. Thump Thump – a short farce about friendship and truth, which was produced at the Brave New Play Rites Festival 2017. Canary – a one act semi-autobiographical piece about environmental illness, which had a reading at the Firehall Arts Centre in 2016. Additionally, she had two professional productions presented by theatre companies for people with disability, Kickstart Disability Arts and Culture and Realwheels Theatre in 2015.
Her career highlights include winning the Jessie Richardson – Larry Lillo Award for Outstanding Direction of a Play for directing House, by Daniel MacIvor, and directing A Town Called Hockey at the Arts Club Theatre, which she co-wrote. Liesl was dramaturg for Fugue Theatre’s Via Beatrice, by Jenn Griffin, which was nominated for a Jessie Richardson Outstanding Original Script Award in 2009. Liesl has also received Jessie nominations for directing and producing Drinking with Persephone, by Jenn Griffin, and for co-writing bloodline, with Rita Bozi, Dmitry Chepovetsky, and Kate Hale, which she also directed.
As part of her studies at UBC, Liesl created, recorded, and produced the first six episodes of the Liesl Lafferty Podcast where she interviewed theatre artists from around the world, including Canadian theatre greats Brad Fraser, Alison Kelly, and Yvette Nolan.