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Text on the right says "2024 Legacy Gala Honouring Seana McKenna hosted by Michael Healey. Monday, September 23, 2024. Four Seasons Hotel, Toronto". On the left, Seana McKenna.


On Monday, September 23, 2024 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto, the Stratford Festival will celebrate and honour the legendary career of Seana McKenna. This spectacular evening will be hosted by Michael Healey.

One of the most sought after and prestigious cultural events of the season, the evening will include tributes, music and entertainment featuring Stratford Festival artists and special guests. We hope you can join us for this glamourous evening supporting the key artistic priorities of the Stratford Festival.


2024 Legacy Honouree

Dazzling artistry, dedication to excellence, unwavering commitment to nurturing the next generation of artists: such are the qualities that make Seana McKenna an icon of Canadian theatre.

Born in Toronto, Seana studied at the University of Toronto’s Trinity College and graduated from the National Theatre School before beginning her professional career at the Blyth Festival in 1979. Since joining the Stratford Festival three years later, she has won acclaim in a breathtaking variety of roles there, from Juliet to Richard III, from Lady Gay Spanker in London Assurance to Mary Tyrone in Long Day’s Journey Into Night. Her most recent Festival performance was as Rose in last season’s Les Belles-Soeurs.

The many other stages she has graced across Canada and the United States include those of the National Arts Centre, Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, Mirvish Productions, the Shaw Festival, Canadian Stage, Goodman Theatre, the Belfry Theatre, Groundling Theatre Company, Crow’s Theatre, Tarragon Theatre, The Grand Theatre and the American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.).

Wherever she performs, Seana leaves an indelible impression. To all her roles—from Viola in Twelfth Night, Cordelia in King Lear, Lady Macbeth, Cleopatra, Lear, Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Katherine of Aragon in Henry VIII, and The Merchant of Venice, whether playing Portia or Shylock to such non-Shakespearean characters as Medea, Hedda Gabler, Blanche Dubois, Saint Joan, Eliza Doolittle, Mother Courage and, in the solo play Testament, the mother of Jesus—she brings an authenticity, an emotional resonance and an intellectual depth that have enthralled audiences and inspired her fellow artists.

As a director, her credits include The Wonder of it All and Spit (Here For Now Theatre), King Lear (The Shakespeare Company/Hit and Myth Productions) and Valley Song (New Globe Theatre), while as a teacher and mentor she has conducted workshops and educational programs at the National Theatre School, A.C.T., Stratford’s Birmingham Conservatory and several universities.

Her many accolades include Dora Mavor Moore Awards for her performances as Lady Torrance in Orpheus Descending and Joan in Saint Joan and for her direction of Valley Song, including Outstanding Production and Outstanding Direction; a Jessie Richardson Award for her performance in Wit; and a Genie Award for her role in the film The Hanging Garden. A Member of the Order of Canada, she holds honorary degrees from A.C.T., Trinity College at the University of Toronto and the University of Waterloo. She has received a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, a Bronze Star from the City of Stratford and three Tyrone Guthrie Awards, including two for mentorship. Among the many boards and committees on which she has served are the Actors’ Fund of Canada, Canadian Actors’ Equity Association, Equity Showcase and Shakespearience.

This season at Stratford, Seana has directed one of Shakespeare’s very greatest comedies, Twelfth Night, and on September 23, we will celebrate her as one of Canada’s very greatest artists. May she long continue to delight and inspire us, as she builds even further on her legacy as a true luminary of the theatre.   

2024 Gala Co-Chairs

Barry Avrich, Wendy Pitblado, David Simmonds