The Stratford Festival extends congratulations to Seana McKenna for being named to the Order of Canada, a well-deserved honour for one of this country’s finest classical actors.
“Seana McKenna is a national treasure and her work over the years has been as rich as it has been varied,” says Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino. “She has been a tireless advocate for the Actors Fund of Canada and for other good causes. As a proud Canadian she has been a committed member of our theatre community performing across every part of this country. We are grateful that Seana has made the Stratford Festival her artistic home.”
McKenna was doubly honoured on Canada Day as she also received a Bronze Star from the City of Stratford for her contributions to the theatre.
McKenna marks her 27th season with the Festival this year, giving a heartbreaking portrayal of Mary Tyrone in an extraordinary production of Long Day’s Journey Into Night. She is also playing the title role in Julius Caesar, adding yet another traditionally “male” role to her Shakespeare credits, which also include almost all of his leading ladies.
In the Stratford off-season this past year, McKenna received high praise for her Lear in the Groundling Theatre Company production in Toronto. She then directed King Lear for The Shakespeare Company in Calgary. Among her 54 credits at Stratford are the title roles in The Madwoman of Chaillot, Richard III, Romeo and Juliet (in which she has also played the Nurse), Mother Courage, Medea and Phèdre, as well as Cordelia in King Lear, Viola in Twelfth Night, Portia in The Merchant of Venice, Lady Macbeth in Macbeth, Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Katharina in The Taming of the Shrew, Jaques in As You Like It, Amanda Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie, Dolly Levi in The Matchmaker, Dotty Otley in Noises Off, Madame Arcati in Blythe Spirit and Queen Elizabeth I in Mary Stuart.
She has received three Dora Mavor Moore Awards – for acting in Orpheus Descending and Saint Joan, and for directing Valley Song. She has also won a Jessie Award for Wit and a Genie for The Hanging Garden.
McKenna has received an Honorary MFA in Acting from The American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, where she teaches and performs, starring there in Testament, Napoli Milionaria! and Phèdre. She has also been honoured with a Doctor of Sacred Letters degree from Trinity College, at the University of Toronto, and with a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.