The Shaw Festival Oral History - Carolyn MacKenzie


Description
Creators:
Carolyn MacKenzie, Interviewee
Nancy Butler
, Interviewer
Media Type:
Text
Audio
Item Type:
Interviews
Description:
Interview with Mary Haney, actress and member of the Shaw Festival Theatre. Seasons with the Shaw Festival: 1978-80, 1986, 1988-99.
Transcription only; audio file not available.
Notes:
Part of Shaw Festival Foundation Oral History Project
Date of Publication:
25 Jun 2010
Subject(s):
Local identifier:
ShawFest00015
Language of Item:
English
Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    fltLatitude: 43.25012
    Latitude: 43.25012 Longitude: -79.06627
Copyright Statement:
Copyright status unknown. Responsibility for determining the copyright status and any use rests exclusively with the user.
Location of Original:
Shaw Festival Library
Contact
Niagara-on-the-Lake Public Library
Email
Website
Agency street/mail address

10 Anderson Lane P.O. Box 430
Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON L0S 1J0
905-468-2023


Transcription:

NB: What were your positions at the Shaw Festival?

CM: I probably had more positions than any body but a lot of them were for a very short period of time. Initially I was in Stage Management. I came on as an apprentice stage manager, then I became an assistant stage manager, and ultimately stage manager. While I did that, in off-seasons I would pick up other work at the Shaw Festival. So I did a couple of months as a prop buyer. I worked in the original call centre, (and) in membership. I worked as supervisor. One winter I worked as assistant to the production manager. So those were all short term but stage management was my primary work which I did for twenty years and after that I passed into the education area. I worked as education coordinator for five years, working with adult education, school education and internal professional development.

NB: When did you start working at the Shaw?

CM: I started working in 1979. It was my first season.

NB: And when did you stop?

CM: I stopped in 2003 so I did 25 seasons.

NB: And how did you get hired?

CM: My training was that I had a degree from University of Ottawa with a concentration in theatre. I knew that I wanted to work in stage management and so I was encouraged to apply to the Shaw Festival by a family member. I did and I was hired as an apprentice in stage management and that's where it began.

There is actually a bit of funny story because my father at the time was Chair of the Board and I arrived at my first interview, whenever it was February or March. I flew down from Ottawa and I walked in and the Direction director at the time, Harry Brown took one look at me and said, "I just found out who you are."

I said, "I beg your pardon."

"I just found out that you are Jack Mackenzie's daughter."

"Oh," I said," I hope that that is not a problem."

"Well, if I had known who you were, I wouldn't have hired you."

And so I said, "I hope that that doesn't make you change your mind."

"I don't have any choice because I was told by Leslie Yeo that I had to hire you."

So he wasn't very happy but he brought out the books and showed me that my name was already on the roster and I was told that I had to be professional and the slightest problem and I would be let go. He didn't care who I was. So it depends who you asked how I was hired, but I like to think that I did it on my own steam and stayed long enough to prove my worth.

NB: You started in 1979. Have you noticed any changes since you started in stage management in the twenty years since you started?

CM: I think that the biggest changes since I came in to now is the fact that it is that we have to be know more technically to be a stage manager than we used to. There have been so many technical advances and so many more technical elements used on stage and we have to know how to work with them. We have more tools available to us as a stage manager. When I began we didn't have personal computers so all the paperwork that we did was done on a typewriter. I think we save a lot more time now. The tools we have now on computers allow u; to be more efficient and more effective at our job. The one thing that hasn't changed is the people skills. You either have people skills or you don't. That is a constant. But I think that technology has allowed us to be more effective and to do things faster.

I think that another thing that changes all the time is the agreement - the Canadian Theatre Agreement between PACT and Canadian Actors Theatre Equity. It reflects new technology. It reflects changes in the labor laws. It reflects improved working conditions. [It] is an important thing to note that you do always have to be on top of that.

I think there is a lot more competition at the entry level. There [are] a lot more people coming through theatre schools. There [are] a lot more people who are volunteering in order to build their resumes and get into the industry. That is across the board, not just in stage management. So I think getting into the industry is much much harder today than it was thirty odd years ago. Having to prove yourself it is very different. So I think that that changes the dynamic of the people working within a department or within a company.

NB: Do you think that it is also [that the Shaw] has been recognized as a more important theatre than it was in 1979? I think it is really good to have that on your resume.

CM: Oh absolutely. I'll never forget when I first started working at the Shaw Festival, there was the term, "The Shoddy Festival", and I remember feeling very insulted by that. That certainly did change.

The Shaw was very advanced in many ways. I think that probably computers came into the Shaw before a lot of other companies, in terms of everyday usage. Health and safety in theatre were almost founded at the Shaw. John Wilbur was very instrumental in instituting good occupational health and safety practices and the Shaw has always been the cutting edge as far as the technology that it uses. They have not always [been able] to afford the best while the Ed Mirvish and Stratford have always been able to spend money on technology. Sometimes Shaw has had to reinvent the technologies that exist in order to be able to afford them. They has been quite advanced [by] trying to use new technology and trying to always stay up to date.

NB: One of the things I remember, when I came in 1981, is that we didn't have any computers.

There was one computer for the entire company and it was a Mac. We had a part time Brock student to help you.

CM: We started using Macs. We were talking to one of the old T.D.s the other day, talking about how John Wilbur had found out some way of using the box office systems, almost converting one of them to be able to do contracts on it as you would with a personal computer. That is what I meant by the Shaw inventing - we couldn't afford it so we made do with other ways.

Yes, Macs were the first computers in there - the little white guys. I will never forget, one day, when I was working on a MAC creating a setting list or something and the head of wardrobe at that time came over. We were talking over it and she said, "Is that thing supposed to be smoking?"

Then eventually the Macs went away and stage management was the only department using Macs when everybody else had PCs and then eventually everybody had PCs. It was very interesting to watch how everybody in the company systems changed in terms of how they worked and whatnot. And computers did make a big difference for us.

NB: You started just before Cameron Porteous came in. He, as a designer I felt, was always interested in technology.

CM: Yes absolutely. My first time visiting the Shaw was in 1978 as an audience member and looking at those sets and those sets built in 1979.. In my first season working in 1979, a lot of our sets were still flats lashed together. Interval changes would possibly take 25 minutes, because full sets had to come down and go back up again. One of the things that Cameron brought into the Shaw as well as Murray Morrison, who was head carpenter for many many years, was the use of truck construction on stage and that made a big difference in term! of how the audience saw theatre, because we didn't have to bring the curtain in anymore. We could actually do more interval changes so scene changes could be done right in front of the audience. So if we had a three-act play with two scenes in each act, we only had to bring in the curtain for intervals. We didn't have to bring the curtains in for the scene changes. So that wall didn't constantly get broken with the audience. It kept them more in the world of the play, because they got to watch the scene changes evolve and occur. It was not only a technical difference but it became a creative difference in how directors conceive how they would direct these changes. It was quite revolutionary.

NB: I remember Morrison quite well. He was a character. He brought a dog all his time.

CM: That's right. A golden retriever. I have forgotten his name.

NB: Now about the curtain. The original curtain was not used by then.

CM: The original curtain was not used much. It was so heavy that it was hard to bring in. It was very dusty. It was very dirty. You are talking about the macrame one. We used to call it 'the bear". I don't know that I can say for sure that I ever actually saw it being used in a show.

NB: I think that I saw it but it was shortly after the Festival theatre was opened. That summer I think I saw it.

CM: It was a really heavy piece. David Edwards is probably a good person to ask that question to because he started in 1979 also and it was still hanging in 1979 - 1980. It was probably in 1981. He would be the person to give you those details. It is a bit shady for me.

NB: Well it is gone.

CM: It is gone. It was a trap for all sorts of nasty dirty things.

NB: Beautiful to look at. Paddy Parr says that she has a photo of it. Now the other question I have is - when did the turntable came into being. Do you remember that?

CM: It wasn't a show that I worked on. I am trying to remember the first show. Was it Cavalcade or Peter Pan?

NB: In Ideal Husband, I remember it being used.

CM: That would have been the original Cavalcade. What was the year of the original Cavalcade? The second was 1995.

NB: It was 1985 or 86.

CM: Yes it was the mid 80s. There was a ten year difference. I think that that was the original Cavalcade and it was used for the original Cavalcade. And then it was used for Peter Pan. It was always a question from year to year whether it would be in. And if it had to be in for one show, it has to be in for all the shows. What it did was that it added about 6 to 8 inches of height to the stage, so the whole lighting hang had to be changed if the whole revolve was being used. Of course if you were sitting in the front row, you had to crane your neck a lot more for shows that the revolve was in. And of course it got burnt in the fire at the Boat Works fire. With the fire insurance they got a new one.

NB: Did you have to step up on to it?

CM: Yes you had to step on to it. In the wings there were ramps built for the actors. I think in some places the actors had to step up onto it but I think it was designed so you ramped up to it. I did only one show with the revolve and that was Councillor in Law . That was in '89.1 think that was the only time I did a revolve. Revolves were challenging. There is always that question of it working. And if it was a computer system, do you have an override of any kind. I remember one day before we were doing Councillor in Law, before the show started, the revolve had a little heart beat to it. It never was right on its spike so before the show. You would go out and do your tech and there would be this little thumping as though it was trying to go but it never went. I always asked about it and it was always explained to me that it would be okay and it would be consistent. And then one day, during the half hour after everything had been checked, we had a power outage, not a long one, just a perennial power outage that we used to have here in Niagara, Anyway, I went out on stage and noticed that there wasn't the thumping. The heartbeat wasn't there, and I can't remember if I said to the stage carpenter or not, "Do you think that we need to recheck the revolve?" And he said, "No, no, it is fine." And of course we got to the place where the revolve cue came on and there was no revolve. The unit needed to be reset after the power outage. And so the stage carpenter ran downstairs faster than he had ever run and reset the system and it was fine. It went on. When you are working with technology you sometimes get completely ? Because we trust it too much So it goes back to your earlier question.

NB: This year we were told that the stairs in Ideal Husband go forward by an expensive (tech) system. Somebody mentioned that it would be cheaper to get three guys to push it forward. I think that sometimes we get carried away with technology.

CM: I think we do.

NB: Do you have any outstanding memories of certain productions?

CM:. Oh a lot. I think St. Joan is at the top of my list. NB: Which one?

CM: The one directed by Neil Munro - 93 if my memory serves me right. I think creatively and technically it was one of the most challenging shows that I ever worked on, but it was the combination of the two that really has stuck with me. How each act had a completely unique set and clean and challenging elements to it. It was a great pleasure to work on it from day one. So I think for me that that probably stands out for me as a highlight.

NB: Were the television sets a problem?

CM: They were. The wonderful thing about it was that one day, when the television sets were a problem, I realized [how to solve the problem], when one of the sets weren't working. I thought, well I saw that when we were setting them up, one of the guys in the interval change [came on to fix it and] so I did something that was unusual. I said to the fellow that knew them best, "I think that we should go on stage". So I actually sent him on stage during the action of the play. The actors didn't know it was coming because we hadn't discussed it ahead of time. He was on headset and he was very discreet. He checked things and he would reset things. I was able to say to him through his headset, "Yes this TV is working now and that one's gone off," and I was able to talk him through the repair because he couldn't see the TV sets. He was further upstage than the[actors] were so we integrated it into the action. Anytime there was a problem with a TV set not going on, we integrated him going 01 stage and it worked fine because it made you feel like you were in a conference. When there is a tech difficulty well, people come in and fix it.

NB: Did the actors pause. Did it take away from them?

CM: No, it didn't take away from them. As soon as Barry McGregor, [who] was playing the Inquisitor, realized [it] maybe he stopped. John spoke to him and he said fine. We will just carry on and so from then on, he just knew that it could happen at any given time because the TVs could go out at any given time. There was one day that the TVs just didn't work and they just weren't going to and he was on long enough. I said "Get out of there." The one time it happened, and so Mary [Haney] had to act with her back to the audience. You know what, it was equally powerful. That was the beauty of that piece that it didn't matter. It was very very powerful. It was probably one of my highlights, I would say.

Sherlock Holmes was -I wouldn't say a highlight - but it was memorable because of the technology. Just getting through it. We all survived it. It was very challenging.

NB: I don't remember the play. I remember everything leading up to it, because I was very involved in the displays of the time and I had to borrow material from the Toronto Reference Library. The Toronto Reference Library had their own room devoted to Sherlock Holmes - The Conan Doyle Room. Then I had to go to the Buffalo Public Library and borrow an amount of material because the opening of that play took place in Buffalo. So I then I remember all the Sherlock Holmes types. They all came in with their deerstalkers, their pipes. It was quite an eye opener for me but actually I don't remember the play. It was a good melodrama.

CM: It was a good melodrama but it was very challenging. We had four towers, almost the size of school buses on end, and the designer, Leslie Frankish, what she want was the look of the towers somehow hovering advancing between the different scenes. They would fall into position and then doors would open and windows would appear and desks and fireplaces and mirrors, pictures, sconces, lamps, it was just technically quite stunning but very difficult to coordinate. A lot of safety issues. But we got through it and it was a superb show and you know I think I called 450 cues in just over two hours. One crew person said to me, I reminded them of the Wizard of Oz, behind the curtain. Just the challenge of getting through it was something.

Other shows, just for the pure joy of the shows. This Happy Breed and You Can't Take It With You were two that were just were "feel good " very happy companies [and] great people. They loved the shows [and] so the show stayed intact. They were well cared for by the actors, by the crew, so those are two that stick out for me as very happy memories.

Back to Councillor at Law, talking about the revolve, I think just the brilliance of it. Again another Neil Munro show. And Cameron, that combination was great., Everything was done in grays, blacks and whites. Amazing cast. Just a beautiful acting piece. Those are the shows that I worked on.

In terms of the shows, that I didn't work on, the two that really stick out for me are Camille, and Ivona. For some reason [they] stick out for me. The courage of the actors in those shows I think was very important. Ivona was also the first Tadeusz show so it was very interesting for the European influence. He was asking actors to work in ways that they were [not] necessarily very comfortable with and were new to them. And it was interesting to see how some of them, just embraced that. I remember Goldie Semple in that show and she was stunning. She completely embraced the European quality so those I think were some of my most memorable ones.

NB: How about the actors? Do you have any memories of working with them?

CM: So many. Fond memories. My very first season with Shaw, watching Mary Haney playing Bessie in

The Corn is Green and her final big scene when she comes back and laughs at everybody. It didn't matter what I was doing, I was always standing in the wings when she did that big scene. Tony in his swan song. In Waterloo. It broke my heart. Jenny Phipps in the Old Lady and her Medals. And Goldie. Her courage working through her illness. The commitment of people I think is so important. And the care they have for each other and the work that they do. I always felt privileged to be in a rehearsal hall, to be a stage manager, because I felt I was allowed into the inner sanctum. I was being able to observe, a process that was sacred. I felt so lucky that I was allowed to participate. It was such a viable act, the act of acting. It is I think so very scary. It is very honorable. Being able to be part of that was always a great privilege to me.

NB: Have you ever acted yourself?

CM: A little bit. At university. At the University of Ottawa. A tiny bit at Mount Allison University. Only three or four acting experiences. Some of them were terrible and some of them were quite exciting. It was just the honour of watching the best in Canada work. It is just great.

NB: Do you remember anything that was just a disaster apart from the television sets?

CM: O there were so many stories. One time somebody said that they smelled smoke. They looked up during Councillor at law and on one of the lighting towers, they could see that one of the jowl frames was on fire. So it was very interesting. That got dealt with. In the Royal George, bats, birds, on stage, sharing the stage with the actors. Pests, pestilence. There were so many over the years. In teaching stage management class, I can usually come up with great horror stories because I am dealing with specific issues and the stories come. A lot of them are very personal, because people become sick or unwell or have family emergencies so you end up having to put understudies on in very short order and that usually brings out ? It is having to be prepared for anything and everything.

Power outages. Those were always big. The roof at the Festival Theatre has been a chronic problem for years. Some years [were] worse than others, We would get a deluge [and] we literally had it raining on stage, [on] the actors, and the lighting.

Oh, I remember one day, we had a power outage during a particular show and we had a drip that was very obvious. [In spite of} the power outage, we managed to keep going because we were on a generator, and then we did the changeover with the curtain out because otherwise we wouldn't have enough light back stage. So the audience got to watch the change over which was unusual. I think power came on towards the end of the changeover, so we finished the changeover in decent light. Before the last act, I went out on stage to thank the audience for their understanding under the circumstances and to explain that we obviously had a drip that was more like a running faucet. That's why there was a bucket on stage, and if a character came out with towels ever> now and then, just to ignore her. So there are many crazy things that can go on. But you have to manage each one individually. You have to take the temperature of each cast, each audience and decide which is the best way to handle it.

NB: A lot of split decisions.

CM: A lot of split decisions. I'll never forget [one time]. I had one actor who shall remain nameless who came it to do a show and there was a problem. He had cut himself shaving, and he couldn't stop the bleeding. We called the doctor and he said that he couldn't put a stitch in him but to use ice. We held the show and finally [the bleeding] stopped but it was ten minutes late. It was going to be another four or five minutes before we could get the show up and running again. I knew we were going to be fifteen minutes going up which is really hard on the audience and ultimately on the cast.

I said, "I am going out and making an announcement". [That] was my instinct. {But] the actor said, "Oh please, don't do that."

I said that I wasn't going to say why, I was just going to thank them for their indulgence and explain that we had a minor problem. And thank you for waiting.

But he said, "Please, please don't do that," and against my better judgment, I said, "Okay I won’t."

I have never seen such a hostile audience. In the interval I went down and one of the actors said to me, "I wish you had made that announcement".

They had to work hard to get that audience back. Every situation is individual and every situation requires a careful consideration. But it is the kind of job that the more you do it, the better experienced you are in terms of making those decisions because you have your past experience. You can look at other people's experiences and gain from those as well.

NB: Last time I took the archives up, I noticed that there were no stage management reports. And I asked why there were not any and I was told by Margaret, that it was a privacy issue with the actors. I said that they always used to be sent up. What you don't want are the excuses from doctors saying why they were missing that show because they were sick, which they often have to file. But the show manager's report often has nothing personal in it and it is often just a good show. Thank you.

CM: Hopefully, but sometimes there are incidents, conflicts that need to be resolved. The one that I remember didn't involve two actors but two musicians that I had to mediate. That sort of thing actually will go into a show report. Show reports are funny things. It has to affect the show to go in a show report. I understand the privacy thing. But if it is something really big, you would write a separate objective report of the circumstances and you put that in as an addendum. There are certain things you just simply don't put into the show reports. But just in terms of people's timings are off, you might put in that so and so seems to be under the weather. That they are sick or not. That they didn't seem up to scratch so I could understand that if you are commenting on somebody's performance, I can sort of see the privacy concern there.

NB: My understanding is that you can comment on performance but you cannot comment on health issues or things like that. But I said to Margaret, then you make it restricted - you restrict access to the show reports.

CM: And they already are. The way most companies work it, you have the technical notes and you have the full report which will also include performance orator related things. Yes, I guess there are ways around it. You could say so and so didn't do the performance. It would be interesting to look at the privacy laws and figure out what is appropriate there.

NB: Well to be honest the only people to look at stage reports are usually people like Leonard Conolly who are writing the history of the Shaw. He is not going to publish anything that is going to embarrassment. To be honest I don't think it is a big thing.

CM: But there have been times in the past when people knew where they were filed and access was at risk and after, oh I say around 2000 or late 90s, they went under lock and key in the stage management office. Because the stage management was in a hallway so there was nothing stopping anybody from stopping at that file cabinet and opening the cabinet and reading any show report they wanted. So certainly I could understand that issue.

I could see that in doing a remount or even a number of years later, it would be interesting to look back and see where the pitfalls were, seeing where things could go wrong and what things to look out for. Absolutely.

NB: I know that Shaw never has a prompter. Do you find that a problem?

CM: No it is the actor's responsibility to know their lines and if they have a moment, or where they don't know their lines for the other actors on stage to help them. Proctors are available usually through dress rehearsals and then technical and early dress rehearsals but by the final dress, you are on your own. Simply people power is a concern because usually somebody has to do it, somebody related to the show. So do you pay that person or do they volunteer and they have to be able to do it. Actors do need to lose that safety net at some point in time. I have only twice in my career seen an actor completely lost on stage. And once it was in my first year there, in '79. We actually had to bring the curtain in and 1 think they had some kind of blackout of some kind. They had a mental blockage and they were unwell.

Another time, it was a long monologue and the person just got lost in the monologue. It suited the character and they were able to say, "Somebody help me please" and somebody did, somebody jumped in and helped him. But it was one of those features — it was a long speech and director had given direction to the cast to not listen. So there was this actor, and usually you do know everybody's lines, and there was this actor on stage with four other people around him who had been told not to listen to him. So I was actually in the wings - it was in the Courthouse - and I was able to help him out. It is up to everybody to help everybody else.

NB: About the Court House. We were wondering when the thrust stage was put in.

CM: Okay. I have to do this season by season. Not 79 not 80. I am going to say 81 or 82.

NB: The Court House was renovated in 1982. Does it make sense for it to go in then?

CM: Maybe. I am more inclined to say it was whatever year that the Magistrate was in which I think was 81. [For] Albert Nobbs year, it was definitely in there. Magistrate it was there but it was not there the year of Canuck which was 1980.1 am inclined to say 81.1 may be wrong. For the Magistrate, we definitely had the thrust.

NB: When they did the thrust was that when the floor was built up?

CM: There have been several different versions of that floor. When the thrust went in, it was the whole package. The whole structure, the infrastructure, the lego set. I always called it the lego set, the meccano set. The year the thrust came in was the year that the grid system was put in and the seating was raised. The year we did The Respectable Wedding which was 1980,I think it was still flat seating and the booth was on the side, was on the house right, behind the house right alley way, It was up in the air.

The production history would probably answer that question but the first show that I remember doing with the thrust was the Magistrate. Richard Farrell saying "oysters".

NB: How were your years as an Educational Coordinator?

CM: It was very different obviously for me. I took a great big pay cut.

NB: Why did you change?

CM: I had teenagers. The summer of '98, my kids were 12 and 14 and never had in their lives had anybody ever said boo about me not being home during the summer. My kids never complained. They were proud of what I did. They loved the novelty of it.

I came home one day between a matinee and an evening show and my daughter said to me, "Do you have to go to work tonight?"

And I said, "Yeah," and I looked at her and I knew that she was asking me not to and in twelve years she had never don't that..

So I said, "I do, I have to go to work tonight, and I have to go to work until November, I can't decide when I do and not go to work but after I finish this season we can negotiate that."

And I marched into Colleen's office the next day and said "This is my last season as a stage manager. I can't do it anymore. My kids are at an age where they could go either way and if they say "I need you" you have to listen to that."

So that is why. Then it dawned on me that I was cutting off 20 years of my life and I couldn't bear the thought of not being there anymore, so I looked around. What else would I like to do here?

And the only job that really intrigued me because it kept me working with the company and I have always been fascinated by education, by the ideas in education, why people learn and what people want to learn. So I inquires about the possibility of the education position.

NB: It was open then?

CM: Lindsay had it the year before me. I can't remember her last year. Leslie Francombe had had the job for a couple of years and then she left to go to Carousel Players and there was Lindsay out of U of T. She was a playwright. I think that was her main interest. She came from an academic background. She was very good at the seminars but I don't think she was as interested in the coordinating part of it. Well, I thought I could do the coordinating part with my eyes closed thanks to the stage management experience And so I asked for the job and it was agreed that they would give me a try. So I did that for a couple of years two years as a seasonal employee and then in my third year, I became full time staff when we added youth education. Then I did it for a couple more years and I decided that it was time for me to leave.

CM: I wanted to go back to school to do something new. But it was ideal for me. Because I knew the actors so well, I knew the systems so well, I understood who you could ask to do what, effectively and realistically so it was good match and I did enjoy it. It was a natural job for me to do until it was time to go.

NB: I do remember the seminars when I first came. But I can't remember who was in charge of those.

CM: Well the seminars used to be done through York if I am not mistaken and then when Dan Laurence decided to be a friend of the Shaw Festival after 1981 or 82, after the first St. Joan fiasco. He came on board he used to be involved in the planning and execution of them. And then eventually they came in house. I think education is the way of the future. I wish quite frankly that Shaw had a bigger commitment to education then it does. One of the reasons why I left. I felt the talk was there but the reality wasn't there to match the talk. I think that people want to know more. I think education is a lure. It is a way of bringing more and more members into the organization, more and more patrons, more and more donors. I think you can make people feel more connected.

NB: What way do you see it amplified. You already have tours, you have actors after a show talking to people. You have study guides for teachers. You have seminars and workshops.

CM: It is better than it was when I was there. There have more things instituted. I think Shaw getting the Trillium grant to bring Suzanne on was great. I think the commitment is stronger now than it was. I think I am talking about an endemic thing. I think it was always considered a secondary activity It is secondary to what is going on stage. I would never argue. I would never say that it had to be a primary activity but I felt when I was there that it was more of a tertiary activity as opposed to a secondary activity. I don't feel that other people, other staff members in the institution were necessarily encouraged to think of education as important. I felt that I had to fight for a lot of things that happened while I was there and Denis was there. We had to fit into everybody else's system. I felt that the systems were more important than what we were trying to do. Listen what we were trying to do is actually bring more people in, attract more people into the organization, increase the capacity of the organization. I didn't understand why systems couldn't be changed to make our jobs easier. We had to adapt ourselves to existing systems. It was politics. It was a whole lot of things. I think that that has turned around a lot. It sounds like sour grapes. I look at Stratford's education programming and I think it is fabulous. But it has given a great deal of importance.

NB: I think they have had to work harder. Shakespeare is harder to understand.

CM: I think probably but as an organization, I think that they are a learning institution. I think Shaw is getting there. I think it is improving. It's just changing people's thinking. We are part of a society that values lifelong learning. Maybe I was little a bit before my time. The things that I was trying to push to make happen. Okay I go other ways now.

NB: Thank you

CM: Nice to have the fond memories. Lots of very fond memories.

The Shaw Festival Oral History - Carolyn MacKenzie
Powered by / Alimenté par VITA Toolkit




My favourites lets you save items you like, tag them and group them into collections for your own personal use. Viewing "My favourites" will open in a new tab. Login here or start a My favourites account.










The Shaw Festival Oral History - Carolyn MacKenzie


Interview with Mary Haney, actress and member of the Shaw Festival Theatre. Seasons with the Shaw Festival: 1978-80, 1986, 1988-99.
Transcription only; audio file not available.