Seana McKenna takes you on her journey
by David Sklar
(All photos courtesy of Stratford Festival, all production photos by David Hou except when noted)
Seana McKenna was raised in the Toronto suburb of Etobicoke and in nearby Port Credit. She spent one year at the University of Toronto before attending the National Theatre School in Montreal until 1979. She made her professional acting debut the same year at the Blyth Festival, appearing in This Foreign Land, Child by James Nichol and The Death of the Donnellys. Her long and distinguished association with the Stratford Festival in Stratford, Ontario began in 1982, when she joined Shakespeare 3 Company, as the Festival's Young Company was then called, appearing as Helena in A Midsummer Night's Dream and as Diana in All's Well That Ends Well. Ms McKenna won a Dora Mavor Moore Award for her performance in the title role of Shaw's Saint Joan (Theatre Plus, 1991) and a second in 1998 for outstanding direction of Fugard's Valley Song. Her third Dora Award, in 2007, was for her performance as Lady Torrance in Orpheus Descending. She received a Jessie Award for Wit and a Genie Award for The Hanging Garden. In 2010 Seana McKenna was awarded an honorary Master of Fine Arts degree from the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. She served for six years on the Council of Canadian Equity, the actors' union, and for three years on its executive. Ms McKenna has received a Tyrone Guthrie Award for mentorship. With impressive technique and a silky, flexible voice, Seana McKenna demonstrates passion, intensity and intelligence in every role. She is considered by many to be Canada's finest dramatic actress of her generation.
CHARPO: Where did it all begin for you in terms of acting?
As Elizabeth in Mary Stuart
As Richard III
As Madam Arcati in Blithe Spirit
Auditions, they’re hateful things. They really are. They are for different reasons. When you are auditioning for theatre school, I think they are looking for that spark, the animal that’s inside, not necessarily looking for skill. It’s a mystery.
CHARPO: So your process for contemporary and classical text is quite similar?
As Dolly Levi in The Matchmaker (photo by Cylla von Tiedemann)