Celia McBride is a Canadian playwright born in the Yukon and currently living in Port Hope, Ontario.

She was the only female playwright to have her one-act play, Walk Right Up, performed at the inaugural season of the Stratford Festival’s newest venue, the Studio Theatre, in 2002.

That play tells the story of the three adult children from the fictional Ruskin family, who need to make decisions about caring for their elderly parents.

I first interviewed Celia McBride in the summer of 2002 after seeing the play.  We catch up 17 years later and discuss other artistic projects she’s undertaken in the interim, as well as her latest writing project, a spiritual memoir.

In this episode, my interview with Celia McBride from playwright to spiritual director.

In 2002 the Stratford Festival opened its new Studio Theatre, a smaller venue which produced a series of one-act plays including McBride’s.

She was the only woman to have a theatrical performance produced in the inaugural year of the Studio Theatre.

Her production ran alongside five others including ones by Canadian novelist Timothy Findlay and Italian film director Federico Fellini.

McBride’s play tells the story of the Ruskin family and the difficult circumstance of who will care for the patriarch Miller, who has suffered a stroke, and the matriarch Lily, who has early signs of dementia. The conflict centres around the care the parents want and the care their three grown children Ella, Brilliant and Pill can offer them.  

Walk Right Up is one of 28 stage plays and a movie script McBride has written that she said focus on “themes of self-realization or an awareness [a person] has about themselves.”  

McBride’s life journey has taken her from the playwright’s empty page, to the stage, to webcasts and TV. And, throughout, a spiritual journey has taken place that led her to become a spiritual director. 

She started to develop spiritual practices in her early 20s including meditation, prayer and yoga.

“One of the things writing the memoir has given me the opportunity to do is to look back on my life and see where the spiritual sign posts popped up,” said McBride. 

“Who am I? What am I doing here? And what the heck is this all about?, happened to me pretty early on.”

In this podcast we talk about the successes, the disappointments and McBride’s journey from the theatre to her spirituality in this stage of her life.

Click below to listen to Episode 23: Celia McBride, playwright to spiritual director

This interview is featured on SoundCloud and iTunes.

Program and stage notes

Page 12 of the Studio Theatre program 2002
The credits and notes from the playwright.
Page 13
Walk Right Up notes from the playwright and director.
A list of the productions that appeared at the Studio Theatre in 2002.