WHO?...McGee! Creative Team

The diverse and talented Creative Team brings together community and professional members with experience and love of theatre, cinematography, history and Internet.

Padraig Finlay

Producer, Playwright, Actor

Born in Dublin Ireland, Padraig’s love of theatre has included Tara Players of Ottawa as an Executive Member (Publicity Director, Vice President, President and Board Chair), as a producer (“Blackwater Angel” (by Jim Nolan)), and as an actor (Mr. Byrne in “Big Maggie” (by John B Keane), (Senator Marty McInerney in “A Little Like Paradise (by Niall Williams)). He has also acted with Ottawa Little Theatre (Detective Inspector Rodney Battle in “Towards Zero” (by Agatha Christie)). He has done public readings of James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, Dylan Thomas, William Butler Yeats and appeared as Nicholas Sparks and Thomas D’Arcy McGee at public events. For the McGee! Project he is developing a hybrid of theatre and video to tell a story of a fascinating man in times of turmoil.

Robert Rooney

Video Director

With over thirty years experience in writing, directing and producing in theatre, video and events, Robert has an extensive portfolio and a record of working effectively with community groups, professionals, aboriginals, and private and government agencies. He has worked in Canada, South Africa, the United States of America, China and other countries. His portfolio includes documentaries, video advertisements, educational videos, public service announcements, films, live theatre, and has performed various roles as an actor, writer, dramaturge, director, producer, editor, and mentor. His work has been presented on CBC Television and Radio, RDI, SRC, Much MusicTV, Vision TV, South Africa Television in addition to numerous live theatre audiences across Canada and the United States. His teaching activities have included Brock University, Ryerson Polytechnical Institute, Banff School of Fine Arts, National Screen Institute in Canada and The Drama Centre in London, England. His contributions to the McGee! Project draws not only on his extensive experience in theatre and video, but his in depth knowledge and understanding of Thomas D’Arcy McGee.

Brenda Rooney

Production Manager

Brenda is a producer, public speaker and committed activist with interests in public health, human rights, education, women’s issues, international development, community initiatives, theatre and video production. She has worked in Canada, South Africa and Ecuador on issues such as media relations for Nelson Mandela’s release from prison, research and prevention of HIV/AIDS, voter education, employment equity, cultural industries and Y2K Preparations. Clients have included Health Canada, Canadian Institute of Health Research, Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), International Development Research Centre (IDRC), South Africa High Commission and Broadcasting Corporation, Vision TV, MuchMusic TV, Elections Canada, Ontario Government, OXFAM, UNICEF and Algonquin College Ottawa. She has been Director of Communications for various theatre and non-profit groups and been involved with the Stratford Festival, Royal Alexandra Theatre Toronto, Berkshire Theatre Festival, the Quebec Learners’ Network and the Wakefield Quebec Community. She brings to the McGee! Project her organizational and inspirational skills and dedication.

Janet Irwin

Dramaturge, Acting Coach

Respected and experienced in all aspects of theatre, including director, producer, writer and teacher, Janet has worked as a professional with National Arts Centre (English Theatre, Orchestra), Ottawa School of Speech and Drama, Odyssey Theatre, Great Canadian Theatre Company, the Gladstone, Opera Lyra, Upper Canada Playhouse, Manitoba Popular Theatre Alliance, University of Ottawa, various secondary schools, and other organizations. Her research and writing has included theatre, documentary and video scripts and librettos for opera. She has worked with others to adapt works (e.g. “Angel Square” (by Brian Doyle)), and to educate (e.g. audio tours of heritage waterways of the Rideau, St. Lawrence and Ottawa Rivers.). Her invaluable roles with the McGee! Project is as dramaturge and acting coach.

Miles Finlayson


Myles is a young energetic videographer who has filmed a wide range of works from comedic horror films to television commercials, to documentaries and pieces of theatre. He has worked as cinematographer, editor, producer, actor, sound recordist, camera operator and grip in numerous countries and continents. His work has been shown on television, screened at festivals and released commercially as digital video discs (DVDs). He is familiar with current techniques of the Internet, and brings his innovative skills and energy to the McGee! Project.

Selena Karkash

Production Assistant, Website Manager and Internet Interfaces

Selena is a bright tech-savvy student at Algonquin College Ottawa, currently studying Advertising, having completed the Interactive Multimedia Developer Program and numerous workshops in media, including Flash In The Can (FITC) and Skills Canada seminars. She is a freelance photographer with an interest in theatre and videos. She has developed and maintained the McGee! Website and is tutoring the Producer in the world of Internet and Google, iMac/iPad, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Bryan Easter

Hair, Make-up

Bryan has worked over twenty six years in the beauty business in Ottawa, Vancouver, Calgary, Las Vegas, St. Paul, Florida, France, England and Germany. He has run beauty salons and specializes in wigs, colouring, fashion shows, television, and theatre productions for Ottawa Little Theatre and other companies. He is helping recreate Thomas DArcy Himself.

David A. Wilson

Historical Advisor

Born in Whitehead, County Antrim, Ireland, David is a professor in the Celtic Studies Program and the Department of History at the University of Toronto. He has produced, to scholarly and popular acclaim “Thomas D’Arcy McGee, Volume 1, Passion, Reason and Politics, 1825-1827”, published by McGill-Queen’s University Press. Previous publications include “United Irishmen, United States: Immigrant Radicals in the Early Republic…The Transatlantic Connection” and the best selling “Ireland, a Bicycle and a Tin Whistle”. He is now writing Volume 2 on T.D. McGee, ”The Extreme Moderate, 1857-1868” and brings to the McGee! Project his “delightful and erudite” knowledge and his “wit, humour, imagination, and empathy that reveals the Irish love and understanding of language”.

Frank B. Edwards

Educational Consultant, Lesson Plans

Frank has been developing educational material and student outreach programming having worked as an author and editor of magazines such as Harrowsmith, Equinox, Canadian Geographic. He has also authored historical non-fiction for adults, and picture books and novels and non-fiction titles for children. Clients have included National Capital Commission (a tour of Parliament Hill), Canada War Museum (student orientation program), Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (student tests), Archives of Ontario (curriculum- based lesson plans, web- based exhibits, educational outreach materials),and Heritage Foundation of Canada. Each year, Frank visits about fifty schools across Canada to talk to students, teachers and parents about reading and writing. For the McGee! Project, Frank may develop lessons plans, student guides and supplementary materials that will provide curriculum-based ties for teachers and students, and background information for audiences of all ages.

Patricia Marshall

Production Advisor

Patricia has been extensively involved with theatre and some television, film and radio over many years. She has performed in over six plays with Tara Players, and most recently directed to critical acclaim “The Ballymore Reel” (by Greg Finnegan). She has also acted with the Ottawa Little Theatre (in over nine plays), New Edinburgh Players, Third World Players, and Eddie May Murder Mysteries. She has performed at poetry readings and as historical figures at various functions, and is now giving increasing number of harp recitals.

Margit Tauchner

Finance and Administration

Caroline Gowdy-Williams

Website Editor, Production Advisor

Mary Hogan-Finlay

LifeMate, Coach

Mary hails from the Miramichi, New Brunswick and has known Padraig Finlay since 1967. She had her first opportunity to act with him in an open-air amphitheatre in Kalashpuri, Rajastan, India where they performed a Christmas Pageant in 1973 with the Hindu villagers, complete with a donkey, two camels and an elephant. They also played western youths in a German-Turkish film, "Eine Hochzeit" or "Evlenme" ("The Marriage") , on the beach in Sile on the Black Sea. Mary's professional life now as a psychologist has precedence over her acting career. However, she has recently discovered the passion of the violin and has joined the"The More Strings the Merrier" orchestra for fun and leisure. She continues to support Padraig in his theatrical endeavours and their other interesting projects together.

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