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Lenin’s Embalmers

Lenin’s Embalmers

Vern Thiessen


Russia. 1924. Two scientists are assigned an impossible task: make Vladimir Lenin live forever, or face death. Based on a true story, Governor General’s Literary Award-winning playwright Vern Thiesses brings us a dark comedy that brings to light the resilience of the human spirit, everchanging war games, and the importance of always having vodka on hand.

Playwrights Canada Press


Vern Thiessen

Thiessen has written for stage, radio and television. His stage plays have been seen across Canada, the US, Asia, New Zealand, and Europe. Well known works include “Shakespeare’s Will”, “Apple”, “Blowfish”, “The Courier”, “The Resurrection Of John Frum”, “Vimy”. “Einstein’s Gift”, “Lenin’s Embalmers”, and “A More Perfect Union”. The last three have all been produced Off-Broadway.


He regularly writes for Theatre for Young Audiences, including “Bird Brain”, “Windmill”, and two musicals written with composer Olaf Pyttlik: “Rich” and “Rapa Nui”. His recent work includes several new plays like “Saving Grace”, commissioned by Susan and Leonard Nimoy; an adaptation of Maugham’s “Of Human Bondage” for the Shaw Festival; and “Patriots” (with Brian Dooley), for the Citadel Theatre.


Thiessen is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Award for Outstanding New Play, The City of Edmonton Arts Achievement Award, the University of Alberta Alumni Award for Excellence, The Canadian Jewish Playwriting Competition, the Carol Bolt Award, and the Alberta Playwrights Network Competition. In 2003, he won the Governor General’s Literary Award, Canada’s highest honour for playwriting.


Vern Thiessen has served as Playwright in Residence at Workshop West Theatre and the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton.  He is a past president of both the Playwrights Guild of Canada and the Writer’s Guild of Alberta. He is currently an Associate Artist with Epic Theatre Ensemble in New York City, where he writes, teaches, and acts.  He is also an advisory board member of New York’s Wingspan Arts, and a member of the Ensemble Studio Theatre.


Thiessen divides his time between Canada and New York City. He shares his life with acclaimed fiction writer Susie Moloney.

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