Mary McManaway | In My Own Words

The one thing that I insisted on was that all of my kids and my foster kids would be exposed to the arts — music, voice, dance and especially acting.

I was born in l936 in Washington, Pa., and married Leonard McManaway in l955 in Denver. We had three daughters, traveled extensively in the Army, and came to North Canton in l966.

Between l969 and 198l we became foster parents for l8 children and adopted two of them. The one thing that I insisted on was that all of my kids and my foster kids would be exposed to the arts — music, voice, dance and especially acting.

Lisa, my l0-year-old daughter, and I eventually ended up at Massillon Ten Star Theatre, and that was the start of it all.

Lisa had been performing since she was 4 years old. She wanted to audition for the little girl part in “South Pacific.” She did and got the part. Extra women were needed to play the nurses, so I joined the cast.

It was a fun time for three years, but the driving back and forth four and five nights a week became a challenge. That is when Ten Star said it would help us begin a theater in our own community.

Ten Star helped us start the North Canton Playhouse in l976. I have been the artistic director there since that time. In l984, I was asked to become the theater director for Walsh University’s Genesius Drama Troupe and still continue in that position. It has proven to be a great collaboration between North Canton Playhouse and Walsh.

My other passion in life is working to make life better for all animals in our community. I started the Coalition for Animal Concerns in May 200l, and it has become a strong presence in the community dealing with animal situations. We currently are building a lowcost spay/neuter clinic with the support of our Stark County commissioners.

North Canton Playhouse has been a strong supporter of the Coalition since its inception.

I still serve on the boards of the Coalition and the North Canton Playhouse.

ABOUT MARY MCMANAWAY

WHAT: Founder of the Coalition for Animal Concerns, artistic director for North Canton Playhouse, theater director for Walsh University’s Genesius Drama Troupe.
EDUCATION: Penn Commercial Business College; numerous directing workshops
AWARDS: Received the Stark County Wall of Fame recognition in 2002.
COMMUNITY BOARDS: North Canton Playhouse, Coalition for Animal Concerns, founded the Epilepsy Foundation in Stark County in l974.