Lisa was born on 19th February 1971 to mother Elise and father Malcolm. Though born in Sydney, Lisa grew up in the northern suburbs of Perth with her younger brother, Brett. She attended Carine Senior High School and Greenwood Senior High School where she studied music and classical singing.
Having started tap-dancing at age two, her love of musical theatre developed as she spent her youth listening to records of shows such as ‘West Side Story’ and ‘Carousel’. One of her earliest acting roles was in a Year Six production of ‘Oliver!’ At 13 Lisa commenced classical singing lessons under the tuition of Gloria Wilson and in her formative years participated in vocal eisteddfods, joined a dance troupe and regularly performed with the Wanneroo Repertory Company. Most notable was her competition-winning performance of “The Flower Duet” from the opera ‘Lakme’ and her 1986 Limelight Award-winning portrayal of Dorothy in Wanneroo’s production of ‘The Wizard of Oz’.
After completing Year 12, Lisa was immediately accepted into the Musical Theatre course at the prestigious Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA). Aged just 16, she embarked on the John Milson-led degree with only six other students, choosing it over Classical Singing at the Perth Conservatorium ‘because I didn’t want to be standing at a piano singing for 15 years before being able to reap any rewards’.
During her time at WAAPA Lisa appeared in many productions including ‘The Robber Bridegroom’, ‘The Boys from Syracuse’, ‘Suor Angelica’, ‘The Hired Man’, ‘The Threepenny Opera’, ‘A Cunning Little Vixen’, ‘Oh! What a Lovel War’, ‘Jonah’, ‘Putting on the Ritz’ and ‘Dido and Aeneas’. She graduated with a BA (Music Theatre) in 1990, becoming one of WAAPA’s youngest ever graduates and one of the first ever students in Australia specifically trained, at a degree level, in musical theatre.
Upon graduation, Lisa promptly secured a distinguished agent in Robin Gardiner Management (RGM Associates) and took on various jobs in Sydney and Melbourne before making it big in ‘Blue Heelers’.