Directory of members

Mary-Eileen McClear

Mary-Eileen McClear

89 Snyders Road West

Baden, ON N3A 2M2

Home/Résidence: 519-634-8973


Mary-Eileen McClear has performed from New Brunswick to British Columbia and in the U.S. Her stories take her to schools, museums, churches, business and health settings, and festivals, including five years as part of the Table Talk series at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival.  

Her repertoire ranges from traditional and contemporary stories to Canadian history, all typified by humour, insight and strong images.

Reviewers in Canada and the U.S. have applauded her warm stage presence,  expressive face, and "captivating sense of humour with an intriguing touch of magic."

Workshop participants describe her as a people person, a witty, accommodating instructor who inspires them and gives them confidence.

Mary-Eileen says she did not choose storytelling. It chose her.  

"Looking back," she says, "it is as if my whole life was leading up to the moment when I would become a professional teller. The penny finally dropped, and I realized that I was not a librarian who told stories, I was a storyteller who had been working in libraries."

Mary-Eileen has been a freelance teller since 1982.  In 1988 she founded The Second Story Workshop – known as The Story Barn – a centre which promoted storytelling as an art form and as an educational tool until 2012.

She can be heard on her recording entitled "Oh, Canada! Strange But True Stories of Early Canada."

Mary-Eileen has both supported the local arts scene and fostered its growth. The community has recognized her efforts with a number of awards including:

• Kitchener-Waterloo Arts Council Performing Artist of the Year

• Kitchener-Waterloo Woman of the Year (Arts Category)

• Canada 125 Medal for her contributions to the cultural life of the community.

• Writers’ Union of Canada Writing for Children Award for her story “Cows and Robbers”

• Best Practices Award from Community Arts Ontario for her work as part of The Walkerton Water Stories Project

• Listed in Canadian Who’s Who since 2003

Mary-Eileen’s membership in arts organizations is an indicator of her commitment to the further development of her art, and the art of storytelling in general. She belongs to:

• Storytelling Toronto

• Storytellers of Canada / Conteurs du Canada

• Canadian Association of Storytellers for Children

• National Storytelling Network (U.S.)

• CANSCAIP ( Canadian Society of Children's Authors, Illustrators and Performers)

• The Waterloo Regional Arts Council.

She is a past member of the Board of the Waterloo Regional Arts Council and of the Board of the Waterloo Regional Arts Fund.

She was the Artistic Director for the Harvest Storytelling Festival in Baden for two years, and for the Heart & Hand Festival in Kitchener for four years.

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