Former Children's Festival's Artistic Director Dies at 60

Marjorie Eleanor MacLean, BA; BFA; M.ED (Leadership), Teaching Degree in Fine Arts - March 2, 1953 – April 18, 2013.

Born in North Vancouver, Marjorie passed away peacefully at home in Vancouver after a long fight with cancer. As many of her friends would say, "she was strong like bull"! She was surrounded by family and friends and is survived by three sisters, Barbara (Bud), Janet (Mike), Alexandra (Harvie), brother Norman, five nieces, Courtenay, Kelsey, Jessica, Michaela, Grace, two nephews, Cameron and Iain, and two great-nephews Nolan and then 2-day old Alistair, and her dear friend Alma Lee.

Marjorie started off her career as a practicing visual artist and sculptor while also beginning to work in the performing arts. During this time she was hired as a technician for a new concept in presenting Canadian performing arts for young audiences. This was the Vancouver International Children’s Festival, an event that became, under Marjorie’s stewardship, the foremost North American showcase for professional children’s theatre, music and dance. As artistic director of the festival from 1981 to 2000 she presented works that bothered, challenged and entertained.

From 1992 to 2000 she held the role of both artistic director and producer, establishing an international touring circuit for visiting artists from around the world to children’s festivals in Canada and the United States. It was an honour that festivals were established in Edinburgh and Japan modeled after the Vancouver Festival. Marjorie made a major contribution by volunteering her time to several organizations including the Minister of Foreign Affairs Foreign Policy Advisory Board, ASSITEJ (International Association of Theatre for Young People) and IPAY (International Performing Arts for Youth).

After leaving the Children’s Festival she returned to the world of academe to study for a teaching degree in Fine Arts and a Masters in Educational Leadership. She put these degrees to excellent use as principal and executive director of the Children’s Hearing and Speech Centre of BC, where she was well loved by the children.

Marjorie continued to support the performing arts and also practiced as an artist in the mediums of photography and visual art. She will be greatly missed by her family, friends and the arts community. Many thanks go to her doctors – Dr. Sasha Smiljanic and Dr. Gary Feinstadt.

In lieu of flowers please send donations to Amnesty International.


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