About Lesley

I believe stories have been with me since birth.


I was born in the front downstairs room of my parents house in South London. The mystery surrounding my birth was the fact I was in a complete Caul. My mother who was a midwife instructed my father on how to break the caul so I could burst into the world. My mother was a country women (Suffolk born) and her father a gypsy. She was very wise and a great healer.


She knew that the caul was significant. It signified I would never drown at sea. My naval uncle stated how sailors often bought cauls and tied them in leather bags around their necks in the hope they would not drown. Life would always be slightly different for me and she was never surprised when teachers said, I was always day dreaming, never really in the present.


I arrived after the second world war but bomb sites had not been cleared away in London. They were my play ground areas along with all the history that London had to offer. The Cutty Sark at Greenwich was a great favourite of mine, and I always wanted to be a highway man at Blackheath or Robin Hood in the great forests. I was surrounded by wonderful Aunts (all survivors of the war). They told me stories and took me to musical extravaganzas, shows on ice and London theatres.


My earliest memory was lying in my pram watching the leaves of the trees dance in the sunlight. My school life was blessed with wonderful teachers who read me poetry at primary school and stories. I went at the age of eleven to Secondary school and saw plays, read Greek myths and more poetry. I had the chance to be taught by Dorothy Heathcote creator of the green Mantle. She pioneered Drama in Education for us poor cockney children. I always wanted to be able to teach like her. I studied theatre and drama all through high school, and when we had lots of overseas students we were asked to peer teach English. I was fascinated at how people learnt to read. This became a passion and led me to become a teacher of drama and Literacy.


I have continued this career over thirty years in the United Kingdom and New Zealand.
I have written numerous plays for community groups School Productions and individual classes. Stories flow all the time and can be found in my CD’s, and performances.

Lesley ‘Two Hats’ is one of New Zealand’s outstanding storytellers.

A background in drama and literacy, which has spanned 30 years across ages from 0 – 100 has provided her with a wealth of knowledge and expertise, which she freely shares around the world.


An international storyteller Lesley has performed and presented numerous workshops for schools libraries business organisations, charities and family gatherings.


There have been wacky tales, funny tales, mysterious tales, her own fairy tale community tales for rural and city people and multi-cultural tales. Her performances can be wildly funny one minute and thought provoking the next.



Lesley is:

  • A Duffy book role model;
  • A writer of plays and stories;
  • A producer of interactive stories;
  • A creator of well-researched material for those that wish to learn;
  • A literacy advisor, Massey University in Taranaki

Lesley's Outstanding Achievements




Storylines Festival - Free Family Day

  • Launch of this website at Puke Ariki on Wed 30 August at 7:30pm.
  • August 2006 - Manawatu NZ Reading Association
  • Storylines Festival Free Family Day @ Puke Ariki
    Saturday 17 June 2006
  • Da Vinci Machines Exhibition Events @ Puke Ariki
  • Hans Christian Anderson Storylines festival New Plymouth.
  • Schools and Libraries.
  • Workshops for teachers.


  • Library Summer festival
  • NZRA Conference Dancing into books.
  • Community tales for rural women.
  • Drama workshops for teachers.
  • Articles published.
  • Story telling libraries and schools.
  • Duffy books, performances
  • Created Produced  Performed adult tale of New Zealand road workers.
  • Visit to USA.
    International Reading Conference San Antonio
    Performance storytellers guild, celebrations Hans Christian Anderson
    Attended Master class Workshops
    Jay O’Callahan.
    Toured Schools


  • Govett Brewster art gallery silly beasts.
  • Libraries and Schools
  • Community Tales - Palmerston North Fire Brigade


  • UK Oxford and Warwick schools.
  • Queensland Storytelling Guild.
  • Brisbane libraries.
  • Mansfield to Middle Earth N.Z.R.A. conference “Thank you for your time and creative energy your performance brought alive some of our famous writers”
  • Coat tales CD launch, Brisbane




  • N.Z.R.A. conferences.
  • I.H.C. conferences.
  • A.P. – D.P. Christchurch conference
  • A feast of fanciful tales with Michael Wilson.
  • Rollicking pirates around five libraries.
  • Manawatu Art Gallery with harpist Celia Briar.
  • Palmerston North Library opening with Mona Williams.
  • When Apples were Golden, Govett Brewster Art Gallery.
  • Libraries throughout New Zealand.