Ms. McKenna is delighted to be back at the Tarragon, last seen here in Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking. After playing Peneliope in The Peneliopiad at the Grand Theatre this past February, Ms. McKenna spent much of the year travelling with her husband, Miles Potter. In 2018, she played Lear for Groundling Theatre Company, directed King Lear for Calgary’s Shakespeare Company, and at the Stratford Festival, where she has spent 27 seasons, played Mary Tyrone in Long Day’s Journey into Night and the title role in Julius Caesar. She then mentored directing students at The National Theatre School, where she graduated forty years ago, and where her son Callan is in his second year of training. She also teaches regularly at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco. Her roles at Stratford include Juliet, Viola, Olivia, Portia, Katherina, Queen Katherine, Paulina, Gertrude, Titania, Medea, Phèdre, Mother Courage, Amanda Wingfield, Hannah Jelkes, Queen Elizabeth I, Dotty Ottley, Amanda Prynne, Lady Gay Spanker, and the title role in Richard III. She has played Eliza Doolittle and Candida for the Shaw Festival. She has also played Cleopatra( Centaur), Hermione( Kansas City Rep), Jean-Louise in To Kill a Mockingbird( The Huntington in Boston) , L’il Bit in How I Learned to Drive( Repertory Theatre of St, Louis; Cincinnati Rep), Margaret in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (RMTC; The Grand) and in A Streetcar Named Desire, Stella ( The Huntington ) and Blanche (Theatre New Brunswick; RMTC/ The Citadel). Her solo performances include Jane Wagner’s The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe ( The Belfry, RMTC, Neptune, The Grand,National Arts Centre);Vern Thiessen’s Shakespeare’s Will ( Stratford; Regina’s Globe; Lowell’s Merrimack Repertory Theatre) and Colm Toibin’s Testament ( A.C.T. ). Ms. McKenna has received two Dora Awards for acting( Saint Joan at Theatre Plus Toronto; Orpheus Descending with Mirvish Productions). She also received the inaugural Dama Bell Dora Award for Best Direction in the Independent Category for Valley Song ( New Globe) . She has a Jessie Award for her performance in Wit, a Genie for her work in The Hanging Garden, an honorary MFA in Acting from the American Conservatory Theatre, a Doctor of Sacred Letters ( honoris causa) from Trinity College, U of T and a Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal. In 2018, she received a Bronze Star from the City of Stratford, and this past July, was invested in the Order of Canada in Quebec City. Better yet, she became a grandmother, and best of all, to Finley.
After Yaga, she will join Calgary’s Shakespeare Company to play Shylock in The Merchant of Venice.