The NAC English Theatre presents the Belfry Theatre (Victoria) production of
The Year of Magical Thinking
by Joan Didion
Starring Seana McKenna
Directed by Michael Shamata
January 11 – 29, 2011

“Seana McKenna and Joan Didion are a magical team.” – Toronto Star

 “Life changes fast. Life changes in an instant. You sit down for dinner and life as you know it ends. The question of self-pity.”

Seana McKenna, a leading lady of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival and one of Canada’s most renowned actresses, stars in this one-woman tour-de-force. Based on Joan Didion’s best-selling memoir, The Year of Magical Thinking captures the compassion, humour and bewilderment of a fiercely intelligent woman whose world lurches suddenly from the ordinary to the unimaginable. This magnificently-written meditation on grief – a place none of us know until we reach it – is also a celebration of family, filled with a luminous belief in the power of the human spirit to overcome heartbreak and to endure.

The Year of Magical Thinking, an account of the year following the death of Joan Didion’s husband John Gregory Dunne, was published in 2005, winning the National Book Award and was voted by the New York Times as one of the ten best books of that year.

In 2007, Didion adapted her book for the stage, where it premiered on Broadway, with Vanessa Redgrave. The play expands upon the memoir by dealing with Didion’s daughter Quintana, who was hospitalized at the time of her father’s death and passed away shortly before publication of the book.

Joan Didion wrote The Year of Magical Thinking as her “attempt to make sense of the period that followed, weeks and then months that cut loose any fixed idea I ever had about…the ways in which people do and do not deal with the fact that life ends, about the shallowness of sanity, about life itself”.

In 2009, the Belfry Theatre produced the Canadian premiere starring Seana McKenna. The production recently played at the Tarragon Theatre in Toronto on its way to the NAC.

“Seana McKenna is wonderful.” – The National Post

“Four Stars. Seana McKenna gives an elegantly moving performance...” – The Globe and Mail

The Year of Magical Thinking
by Joan Didion
starring Seana McKenna
Michael Shamata
Director; John Ferguson Set & Costume Designer; Michael Walton Lighting Designer; Brad L'Écuyer Composer; Anne Murphy Stage Manager

January 11 – 29, 2011
:         Tuesday, January 11 at 7:30 p.m.
Previews:     Wednesday, January 12 and 
                   Thursday, January 13 at 7:30 p.m.
Opening:      Friday, January 14 at 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, January 15 at 1 p.m. in the NAC Panorama Room.
NAC English Theatre Artistic Director Peter Hinton will be speaking with The Year of Magical Thinking Director and Belfry Theatre Artistic Director Michael Shamata. Free to the public.

Talkbacks: Wednesday, January 19 and 26 and Thursday, January 20 and 27.

Stay in your seats for a post-show question-and-answer session with artists from The Year of Magical Thinking.

In the NAC Theatre: 
Evening performances Tuesday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. 
Saturday matinees at 2 p.m. 
(no performances on Sunday and Monday)

Tickets start at $22
Groups of 10+ receive great discounts! For more information contact or
visit our webpage.

Tickets are available for purchase:
In person at the NAC Box Office
At all Ticketmaster outlets
By telephone from Ticketmaster, (613) 755-1111
Online through the Ticketmaster link on the NAC’s website (
A service charge applies on all purchases made through Ticketmaster.

Find out more about NAC English Theatre on Facebook and YouTube. To learn aboutThe Year of Magical Thinking and the NAC English Theatre click

This production is eligible for the Live Rush program.
Full-time students age 13-29 with valid Live Rush membership may buy up to two tickets per performance at the discounted price of only $12 per ticket. Live Rush tickets are available from 10 a.m. on the day before the performance to 6 p.m. the day of the performance. This includes all available seats, including the best seats in the house.
Check out for information on the Live Rush program.

Embassy Hotel & Suites is proud to be the Official Hotel Partner for the National Arts Centre English Theatre.


For any information, please call:
Sean Fitzpatrick, Communications Officer,
National Arts Centre English Theatre
613-947-7000 ext. 389; e-mail:
or visit the NAC website at