Full cir­cle

From per­form­ing child­hood plays in ru­ral P.E.I. to de­but­ing at the Char­lot­te­town Fes­ti­val in ‘Hockey Mom, Hockey Dad,’ P.E.I.’s Bryde Ma­cLean re­al­izes her dream

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY SALLY COLE

From per­form­ing child­hood plays in ru­ral P.E.I. to de­but­ing at the Char­lot­te­town Fes­ti­val in ‘Hockey Mom, Hockey Dad,’ P.E.I.’s Bryde Ma­cLean re­al­izes her dream.

From the time she was six, Bryde Ma­cLean knew she wanted to be an ac­tress.

Her ear­li­est theatre mem­o­ries in­clude writ­ing and putting on skits in her grand­par­ents’ garage, her friend’s at­tic and her fam­ily’s base­ment.

“We’d haul out the Hal­loween cos­tumes and my par­ents’ old clothes and we’d dress up. Then we’d write fan­tas­ti­cal sto­ries and use con­struc­tion pa­per to build our sets,” says Ma­cLean, with a laugh.

Her par­ents, Is­land ac­tors Shar­lene Ma­cLean and Bill McFad­den, were among the first to en­cour­age her.

“They inspired me, as did my grand­par­ents who I grew up next door to, who in­dulged my ev­ery whim when­ever I wanted to make some­thing.”

Ma­cLean also learned about char­ac­ter de­vel­op­ment early on from her step­mother, a so­cial worker, who would train other so­cial work­ers and would take her along on home vis­its.

“I would go in and play the role of the trou­bled child or the kid who was taken from their house — what­ever was go­ing on. From a re­ally young age, it helped me to want to em­pathize with other peo­ple and get in­side other peo­ple’s sto­ries.”

Then, ev­ery sum­mer, she’d look for­ward to see­ing the mu­si­cals at Con­fed­er­a­tion Cen­tre of the Arts.

“Char­lot­te­town was the big­gest place ( for theatre),” says the Kens­ing­ton na­tive who, af­ter grad­u­at­ing from high school, pur­sued an act­ing ca­reer, study­ing theatre at Ry­er­son Univer­sity in Toronto.

Fast for­ward to this spring, when she au­di­tioned for the Char­lot­te­town Fes­ti­val and was of­fered a role. She was thrilled.

“It’s a crazy, wild, ex­cit­ing dream. Ev­ery­one knows that there’s nowhere else to be other than on P.E.I. in the sum­mer­time, but to be here for this rea­son is some­thing else,” says Ma­cLean, who is mak­ing her de­but in “Hockey Mom, Hockey Dad” that plays in Stu­dio 1 of the Con­fed­er­a­tion Cen­tre of the Arts on se­lected dates un­til Aug. 29.

The ro­man­tic com­edy takes place in a lo­cal hockey rink where Donna, a sin­gle mom is strug­gling with her son through his first year of mi­nor hockey. She meets an un­likely hero in Teddy, played by Matthew Camp­bell, a sin­gle fa­ther who only knows how to con­nect with his son through Canada’s na­tional pas­time.

In fact, the theatre has been trans­formed into a hockey rink with boards, benches and fake ice. Per­formed in this in­ti­mate space, it gives the au­di­ence the feel­ing that they’re part of the ac­tion.

“It’s a style of theatre that’s play­ful and fun,” she says. “And, what’s so cool is that it’s my first time do­ing pro­fes­sional theatre. And this is ex­actly the kind of show I wanted to do.”

GRAHAM STEWART/SPE­CIAL TO THE GUARDIAN

Donna (Bryde Ma­cLean) and Teddy (Matthew Camp­bell) ap­pear in a scene from “Hockey Mom, Hockey Dad.” The ro­man­tic com­edy plays in Stu­dio 1 of the Con­fed­er­a­tion Cen­tre of the Arts on se­lected dates un­til Aug. 29.

SALLY COLE/THE GUARDIAN

Bryde Ma­cLean is ex­cited about mak­ing her pro­fes­sional de­but at the Char­lot­te­town Fes­ti­val this sum­mer. Her re­cent stage cred­its in­clude “At­tempts on Her Life,”“The Clan­des­tine Mar­riage” and “Get Your­self Home.”

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