About Us

Creative Team for The Year of Magical Thinking

Joan-website headshot

Director and Actor: Joan McBride. Playing Joan Didion, Joan is a professional actor and member of Canadian Actors’ Equity Association and ACTRA, represented by Reisler Talent in Montreal and living in Prince Edward County. Whether on the stage, screen or behind the mic, Joan has a keen eye for detail and nuance bringing authenticity and artistic integrity to every role she takes on.

On screen, Joan is celebrated for her work as Betty, the psychopathic church lady, in the award-winning horror film End of the Line (Maurice Deveraux Productions). Recent projects include Witchboard (2024 - an upcoming American supernatural horror film directed by Chuck Russell), and Woman in Car (time’s thievish progress to eternity FILMS) -  this highly praised psychological drama premiered in 2021 at The Canadian Film Fest and The Cinequest Film & Creativity Festival, in California. Other notable credits include several productions on Fatal Trust (CMJ Productions), 18 to Life (Gala Films), Abandon (Paramount Pictures), God Bless This Child (ABC Movie) and feardotcom (Warner Brothers).

On stage, Joan is an active member of the performing arts community in Prince Edward County, Ontario, since moving there in 2014. Recent productions include the role of Ruth Steiner in Collected Stories (2022) by Donald Margulies with County based actor Melissa Paulson, Lucy Hopperstaad in Norm Foster’s On a First Name Basis, (2019) with acclaimed Canadian actor John Koensgen, as well as the role of Emily Dickinson in the one woman show The Belle of Amherst (2017) by William Luce. Joan’s performance in The Belle of Amherst was praised for being “mesmerizing”, “moving” and “sheer poetry”.

Joan is an accomplished theatre director and acting instructor, with over thirty years of experience teaching at John Abbott College’s Professional Theatre department until 2013. During that time, she conceived and directed Anglo! A Musical Cartoon, which played to full houses, in Montreal, for two and a half years, and directed her students in productions of Dylan Thomas’ classic Under Milk Wood and Edward Bond’s Tin Can People, both of which performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2011 and 2013.

Joan is pleased once again to be collaborating with Melissa Paulson. Together they have formed The Collective of Magical Thinkers to bring this thoughtful, impactful play to Mount Tabor.

Melissa Paulson

Assistant Director: Melissa Paulson. Melissa is a performance artist, educator, writer and creator from Montreal. She went to theatre school at John Abbott College and holds a B.Ed from McGill University. She left Québec for New York City and took a writing class led by Peter Michael Marino at the PIT. This was the start to the development of her one-woman show For the Love of Pie. She performed the piece at the Montreal Fringe where it was nominated for Best Solo Fringe show and then Chicago where it was selected as one of the 5 best bets of the Chicago Fringe 2016 by Timeout Chicago.

In the last fifteen years, she has collaborated with artists to craft performances and programs that challenge societal norms and amplify women’s voices. She advocated and promoted leadership programs for teenage girls in NYC schools through the organization WET Productions and developed a monologue writing workshop for The ROC youth centre in Picton. Television and film credits include Amazon Prime’s The Boys, CBC’s The Detectives, Freeform’s The Bold Type, Hallmark’s Christmas in my Heart, and Netflix Murder Mystery. She was part of the 2023 Bell Let’s Talk Day commercial campaign in French and English. Most recently, she appeared in David Rendall’s short film Triage and in The Vagina Monologues with the Marysburg Mummers. She is the co-founder of Hysterical Hearts, a female-founded storytelling collective. Their first short film Savage Breakup was selected at St-John’s International Women’s Festival 2020.

Having studied with Joan McBride at John Abbott College, Melissa was delighted to be on stage with her at Mount Tabor in the role of Lisa Morrison in Collected Stories (2022). Now as one half of The Collective of Magical Thinkers, she is looking forward to bringing The Year of Magical Thinking to the stage with Joan.

Michael Drolet

Sound Designer: Michael Drolet. The Sound Designer for The Belle of Amherst, On a First Name Basis, and Collected Stories, Michael is pleased to be back for another production with County Roads Theatre Company. Recently retired from teaching sound for theatre at John Abbott College in Montreal for 15 years, Michael has designed sound for more than 30 theatre projects including “The Tin Can People”, “Under Milk Wood” and “This Day in December” all three of which were presented at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. From 1989-2008 Michael taught sound for theatre at the National Theatre School of Canada. During a thirty-four year career with the National Film Board of Canada, he served as Chief of Sound and Projection, and Consultant for New Technology Development. Michael studied Electronics Technology at Dawson College and Physics and Computer Science at Concordia University.

Janice Fast

Piano: Janice Fast. The music that forms an integral part of this production, selections from Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 13 (Quasi una fantasia), was performed by Janice Fast. Janice studied at the University of Winnipeg-Concord College where she obtained her B.A. in music and ARCT in piano. She brings with her a wealth of teaching and accompanying experience. Janice is a certified RCM teacher with elementary, intermediate and advanced piano students, as well as elementary and intermediate theory students. Being a strong proponent of performance, she encourages her students to participate in recitals, festivals and examinations. Students of all ages are welcome in her studio. Adult students in particular, have found learning to play the piano under her tutelage to be an enjoyable and rewarding experience.

Janice is in her studio with her lovely grand piano Mondays to Fridays at Pinnacle Music School in Belleville.

Jaye Snyder headshot

Sound and Lights: Jaye Snyder. Jaye has been involved in the community theatre scene for nearly two decades. Though the majority of their experience has been under the spotlight performing, Jaye has also been an occasional host on 99.3 County FM and works at Picton's Regent Theatre as a Front of House Manager. Jaye was the Assistant Director of the recent very successful production of Two on the Aisle, Three in a Van, and will have their directorial debut in October with the Prince Edward Community Theatre production of Clue: Onstage.

Joan Didion headshot

Playwright: Joan Didion. Born in California and a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, Joan Didion (1934-2021) spent her adult life in New York and Los Angeles. Winner of the 2005 National Book Award, The Year of Magical Thinking is one of 13 books by Joan Didion. Her other books include Play It As It Lays, Democracy, Slouching Towards Bethlehem, The White Album, Salvador, Miami and Political Fictions.

With her husband, John Gregory Dunne, she wrote the screenplays for such pictures as The Panic in Needle Park with Al Pacino, True Confessions with Robert De Niro and Robert Duvall, A Star Is Born with Barbra Streisand and Up Close & Personal with Michelle Pfeiffer and Robert Redford.

She was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, which awarded her its 2005 Gold Medal in nonfiction. She also received the 1996 Edward MacDowell Medal, the 1999 Columbia Journalism Award and the 2002 George Polk Book Award. She contributed to various periodicals, most frequently The New York Review of Books.

“The Year of Magical Thinking” is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of Samuel French, Inc. www.concordtheatricals.com

Charles 1

Producer: Charles Morris. Pleased to be a part of this amazing project, Charles is married to Joan McBride, and is better known around the County as the now-retired Anglican Minister at St Mary Magdalene Church in Picton.  Charles is also the voice of the Arts Calendar for 99.3 County FM. Charles produced the Country Roads Theatre Company productions of The Belle of Amherst in 2017, On A First Name Basis in 2019, and Collected Stories in 2022. For this project Joan McBride and Melissa Paulson formed The Collective of Magical Thinkers, and Charles is delighted to be returning to Mount Tabor to help them present this important and compelling conversation with grief.

This is a Canadian Actors’ Equity Association production under the Artists’ Collective Policy.