“The beautiful libretto of Lesley-Anne Evans partners brilliantly with the lyrical composition style of Imant Raminsh. Her story is heartfelt, redemptive and passionate.” Alexandra Babbel, Artistic Director, Opera Kelowna
“Lesley-Anne is a mystic whose writings are as beautiful as they are thought provoking.” Gil Davidson, Founder, Advantage Management Consulting
Lesley-Anne Evans is a Belfast born poet whose art celebrates the sacred ordinary. Lesley-Anne holds a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from University of Guelph, and continues to explore the convergence of spiritual formation, expressive arts, and social justice.
Lesley-Anne’s poetry is CanLit published. In 2019 she won the BC Federation of Writers annual Literary Writes contest. Lesley-Anne practices creative engagement as a community artist, facilitator, and mentor. She is a creative instigator, who loves to wander with her camera, and play and learn through art.
Lesley-Anne served as a juror for the 2017 Okanagan Arts Awards, and was an awards finalist in 2016. Commissioned by Opera Kelowna in 2015, Lesley-Anne wrote a libretto, set to a musical score by renown Canadian composer, Imant Raminsh. Lake of Tears premiered at Kelowna’s Rotary Centre for the Arts, in February 2016. Further information about Lesley-Anne and some of her initiatives, may be found at the links below;
- Portrait of the Artist, by Giovanni Vidotto | Photographic essay and interview
- CBC Radio West, Radio One – Poetry wall in downtown Kelowna | Interview
- CBC News, British Columbia – Poetry wall in downtown Kelowna | Article
- CBC Daybreak, Radio One – An unusual kind of street performer | Interview
- KELOWNA NOW feature – In Focus – Lesley-Anne Evans | Interview
- Richmond Hill THE LIBERAL article – Pop-up-poetry | Article
- Geosi Reads by Geosi Gyasi, Ghana | Interview
Lesley-Anne Evans was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and is passionate about her British heritage. Her parents immigrated to Canada, and Lesley-Anne grew up in suburban Toronto, Ontario, where she had the pleasure of exploring wild ravines, walking to school through parking garages and back lanes, and staying outside well after the streetlights came on. Lesley-Anne was a solid student, enjoying the arts and humanities, Royal Conservatory of Music piano studies with a CBC concert pianist, and reading. Each weekend Lesley-Anne visited the public library with her father, tuned in to CBC’s Saturday Afternoon at the Opera. Her grandfather, a nurseryman, taught Lesley-Anne Latin plant names from the age of 2, and a way of seeing the world with earthy spirituality.
Lesley-Anne graduated with a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from the University of Guelph and pursued a career with a Toronto firm, designing theme parks, streetscapes, and public gathering spaces. Several years after marrying her university sweetheart, also a Landscape Architect, they blazed a trail to Kelowna, British Columbia, and began a family. The trajectory of Lesley-Anne’s life changed dramatically. In the curious way of slowing down and paying attention to the ordinary extraordinary details of life, Lesley-Anne discovered a renewed love of the written word, and specifically, a leaning to poetry.
Formative in Lesley-Anne’s new pathway were the experiences of those who said ‘yes’ to her emerging work; Banff Centre’s Writing with Style Poetry Residency program, University of British Columbia’s Lake Journal, Leaf Press, Contemporary Verse 2, The Antigonish Review, One Throne Magazine, and others. With each yes, Lesley-Anne became more resolved to hone her craft, and engage in creative ways of sharing it with others through installations, social media flash poetry, and grass roots community initiatives.
Lesley-Anne began Pop-Up-Poetry as a public engagement initiative in celebration of National Poetry Month, April 2012, sharing word art in the belief that people who happen upon it, will find what they need – whether in volleyball nets, driftwood logs, or bicycle baskets. Her installations have been recognized across Canada, the US, and the UK. Lesley-Anne is a word busker, a flash poet on social media, and performs at a wide variety of public and private events. She interacts with her audiences to create new poetry, in situ.
Lesley-Anne is deeply involved in the local arts scene, was a finalist for an Okanagan Arts Award in Literature in 2016, and served as a jury member in 2017. In her work as a community artist, Lesley-Anne is a facilitator, mentor, and connector, for many of Kelowna’s marginalized citizens through work at Metro Community and the Kelowna Gospel Mission. She offers workshops, circles, and generative creative experiences. Her desire is to facilitate for others in their discovery and celebration of creative spirit. Lesley-Anne believes in the healing transformation that can occur where spiritual formation and creative expression converge.
In 2014, Opera Kelowna commissioned Lesley-Anne to write a libretto for a new Canadian Opera. Lake of Tears, set to a luminous score by the acclaimed Canadian composer Imant Raminsh, premiered on February 20, 2016, at Kelowna’s Rotary Centre for the Arts. The work is being sought after for future operatic productions across Canada.
Lesley-Anne launched her poetry-art book, Poetry Primer | A book of Elementary Principles, in Feb. 2016. A limited edition hand-made book, signed and numbered, incorporates original Dick and Jane flash cards from 1950’s Okanagan classrooms. Order your copy HERE.