A love for theatre and the great outdoors keeps longtime Williams Lake resident Kathleen MacDonald happy and grounded living in the Cariboo.
“I’m very much a theatre geek,” MacDonald, 42 says of herself.
MacDonald was born and raised in Williams Lake by her parents Denise, a stay-at-home mom, and John MacDonald, BC Rail worker. She is the youngest of five children, with two older sisters and two older brothers who live in various cities throughout B.C.
“We were raised to go outside and come back home when the sun went down,” she recalls of her childhood. “We had lots of outdoor adventures.”
MacDonald attended elementary school at Wildwood, and high school at the former Ann Stevenson Senior Secondary and Maranatha Christian School.
Describing herself ‘a shy, quieter kid,’ MacDonald said she now understands much more about herself since she was diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) this past spring.
“Looking back, I can see so many of my quirks were more than just quirks,” she said. “I’ve always got good grades, always held down good jobs but always felt a little out-of-step with most everybody else … if something was interesting and captured my attention, I could focus on it and do really well. But anything too routine and mundane, my brain says nope.”
MacDonald keeps a list in her phone of the signs of ADHD to remind herself, and explain it to others. She is thankful for the diagnosis and open to talking about to help others who may be struggling.
“Most times you don’t fit in with the norm. You just always have this feeling of being slightly different but you don’t know why, so anxiety and depression can come with it.”
MacDonald has since delved deeper into the diagnosis, noting she checks many of the boxes to have ADHD, such as difficulty focusing, difficulty being organized and tidy, and social anxiety. On the flip side, she has other positive other traits often associated with ADHD including creativity, being artistic and ‘thinking outside the box.’
“I didn’t want to lose those things either … I think I’m finding a good balance.”
MacDonald believes an earlier diagnosis would have helped her with the shyness and social anxiety she felt when she was a kid.
“I think I would have felt like I fit in with my friend group more. I was always a bit of an outsider and a bit of an oddball.”
MacDonald is currently unattached and enjoys being single.
“Having the freedom to do as I please in my personal life, that works well for me. I love doing what I’m doing and to come and go when I want to. It would be hard to give that up.”
MacDonald has a degree in human geology and enjoys her work as a community services assistant with the Cariboo Regional District.
At home, MacDonald has two cats and recently started fostering for the SPCA, which she really enjoys.
She discovered her other love – acting – in Grade 7 when she got a small part in a play.
“I find theatre is really good for people with neurodiversity. It’s almost a way to practice social skills. It’s always been an amazing thing in my life and it’s cool to make that connection now.”
Being at the theatre feels like home to MacDonald.
“It’s OK to be a little out-there and quirky and artistic, because that works well in theatre.”
MacDonald was very busy doing back-to-back plays when COVID hit in the spring of 2020. She admits at first she enjoyed the down time, but she is now ready to get back to live theatre.
“Its a huge commitment but it’s one of the greatest feelings too, to be involved with it.”
In her directorial debut, MacDonald will bring the play A Number to the stage in the spring of 2022.
She is also doing lighting and stage work for Williams Lake Studio Theatre’s first play since the pandemic, A Body of Water, which will hit the stage in November.
“It will be exciting to be back in the theatre.”
In her free time MacDonald has enjoyed learning pour painting and now combines pour painting with her photography skills, which are on display in the lobby of Williams Lake City Hall.
An avid cross-country skier, MacDonald has added mountain biking to her list of must-do outdoor activities in recent years. She’s also excited to get back to travelling when everyone’s able to.
She loves living in Williams Lake for it’s small-town feel.
Recently MacDonald was lucky enough to win $5,000 cash completing a Black Press Media online shopping survey called Pulse. With her winnings, MacDonald plans to use half to pay down debt incurred when her basement flooded last fall, and half she planned to put into savings.