Leslie Frankish made her Pacific Opera Victoria debut in 2001 as set designer for The Taming of the Shrew. She subsequently created designs for POV's productions of The Gypsy Baron (2002), Wozzeck and Lucia di Lammermoor (2003), The Cunning Little Vixen and Eugene Onegin (2005), Manon Lescaut (2006), and Daphne (2007). She returns in 2013 to design POV's 100th production, Verdi's Falstaff.
Leslie has designed over 130 productions for major theatres across Canada. She has a background in landscape architecture and an interest in literature and history. She studied theatre design at the Banff Centre for the Arts and began her career at the Citadel Theatre as a resident designer for the Citadel Youth Theatre. Her designs for the Citadel Theatre include Little Shop of Horrors, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Measure for Measure, A Christmas Carol, The Constant Wife, Pride and Prejudice, and The Three Musketeers.
During her long association with the Shaw Festival (1988-1999), she designed Pygmalion, The Silver King, Good News, The Simpleton of the Unexpected Isles, The Lady's Not For Burning, The Children's Hour, Mrs. Warren's Profession, Sherlock Holmes, Lulu, and All My Sons (1999). More recently, she designed an extraordinary set configured as a listing ship for Heartbreak House (2011).
She has also designed for the National Arts Centre (Arms and the Man, Hard Times, Lilies, Claptrap); Canadian Stage (Angels in America I & II, Singer, Into the Woods, and Jason Sherman's Patience); Theatre Calgary (La Bête); Vancouver Playhouse (A Little Night Music, The Caretaker, Hosanna ); the Stratford Festival (The Homecoming).
Leslie was also the senior production designer of the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
She has been nominated 35 times for outstanding theatre design for her work in both set and costume design. She has received a Dora Mavor Moore Award for costume design (Into the Woods), Jessie Richardson Award and Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Award/Sterling Award (Beauty and the Beast, Citadel Theatre). Her set designs were represented at the Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space in 1991 and 1995.
Leslie Frankish's spartan set design communicates as much as any gesture by the actors or movement by the orchestra. From the depths of solitude to moments of inner turmoil the characters find a set that reflects their mental state to the audience.
Review Vancouver, Pacific Opera Victoria's Eugene Onegin, 2005
From the opening curtain, revealing Leslie Frankish’s magnificently rendered ship-as-house set, it was clear that director Christopher Newton’s savvy understanding of Shaw's intention would be reinforced at every turn by other like-minded artistic adventurers.
S. James Wegg, Shaw Festival's Heartbreak House, 2011