Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Interview with Celia McBride

Celia McBride has been telling stories for over a decade as an award-winning writer/performer in theatre and film. Her work has reached audiences all across Canada as well as in Europe and the United States. She is the Co-Artistic Director of Sour Brides Theatre (www.sourbrides.com), a company based in her hometown of Whitehorse, Yukon, and an Inspiring Coach (www.celiamcbride.com). Celia is a member of the Playwrights’ Guild of Canada and a graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada.

Tell us about your work with story? Have you always been a storyteller?

I have always been a storyteller but I didn't actually realize this until last spring when I was traveling on the Storytelling Road Festival in the NWT with the Northern Arts and Culture Centre.

I'm new to the "formal" art of storytelling and so I kind of felt like an emerging storyteller among a whole gang of established tellers. As the week went on and I got the chance to tell in a number of different places and experiment with style and form I realized that all the work I do as a theatre and film artist, the speaking I do, the workshop facilitation... all of it is storytelling and I am a Natural Born Storyteller. It was a pretty profound moment.

What is one of your favourite storytellers/spoken word/story artists?

Of course, Ivan Coyote. She and I are from the same hometown so when she tells I feel like we're family. I loved listening to Jim Green, who was on the road with us in NWT. He's fantastically funny. Evalyn Parry is a gem, too.

What will you be telling at FOOL?

I'll be telling a stylized piece called The Up. It's an autobiographical story about moving from the Yukon to Toronto when I was a kid and then ending up in Ireland as an adult. It's a bit of a fable in that there's a moral to the story at the end.

Tell us about some of your influences.

Oh, my gosh. How about just my latest? I'm being hugely influenced by the story of Jumping Mouse right now. It's a Native American legend about a mouse who gives away his sight to help a fellow creature and becomes an eagle as a result of his generosity. I aspire to that kind of humility and courage.

Why do you think story is important in this day and age?

We're disconnected from each other, we're disconnected from ourselves. We've lost our connection to a Higher Purpose. We need stories to remember why we're here. To inspire each other and to have faith in goodness.

Why do we need oral traditions when we have television, radio, internet?

TV, Radio and Internet call be a part of the oral tradition. But LIVE telling is so powerful. You can't beat being in the room with the teller.

What is your favourite book?

Right now I'm reading Kiss of the Spider Woman by Manuel Puig. So it's the favorite of the moment.

What inspires you?

Coincidence, serendipity, being in the flow. Inspiring others. The experience of being present and fearless, feeling connected to everything and everyone. Rare and beautiful moments.

I actually have a business called Inspiring Works (www.celiamcbride.com) and I lead Inspiring Workshops and write an Inspiring Blog (http://cultivateyourcourage.blogspot.com/)! So, needless to say, inspiration is a vital part of who I am.

How do you create your stories?

I listen and record.

Advice for aspiring teller of tales, word artists, and web weavers?

Find out who you really are. Be true to that sense of your self. Telling is a privilege. "It's not about me."

Your favourite shops/restaurants/places to visit in Toronto?

After we left the Yukon, I grew up in Cabbagetown and the Annex so drop me off in either of those neighbourhoods and I'm in love.

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