Vern Thiessen's plays are seen around the world. From New Orleans to Alaska; from Canada to China; from Europe to New Zealand; from regional theatre to off-Broadway; from comedies to historical drama: from musicals to works for children, Thiessen is considered one of the most diverse and successful playwrights his native Canada has produced.
Well known works include Shakespeare's Will, Apple, Vimy, Einstein's Gift, Lenin's Embalmers, A More Perfect Union, Bird Brain and two musicals written with composer Olaf Pyttlik: Rich and Rapa Nui.
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. Lenin's Embalmer's was nominated for the GG in 2011. His adaptation of Of Human Bondage won the 2015 Dora Award for Outstanding New Play. He has also been shortlisted for the prestigious Siminovitch Prize in Theatre and the Herman Voaden Competition.
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.
In July 2015, Vern was named Artistic Director of Workshop West Playwrights Theatre in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.