Columbus Makes Art Presents Susie McGarry and A Very Covid Christmas

Susie McGarry came to MadLab in 2017 and we have been putting her to work ever since. She has acted, directed, done sound design, helped coordinate our Young Writers program and more. And we’ve barely scratched the surface of her talents. Next, she directs and appears in A Very Covid Christmas, available virtually Dec. 3-12.

Stephen Woosley: What was the theater you ran and how did it originate?
Susie McGarry: During our last year of college, my great friend “John John” (John Galbraith) and I learned The Freshman Show was discontinued due to budget restraints. So with $20, ingenuity and the code to the copy machine, we produced and directed a successful short play festival including original work and all first year (and in some cases, first time) actors and stage crew.

John John and I started producing original shows under the name Wayward Theatre Company. Our most ambitious production to date was planned for late 2005. Hurricane Katrina happened in August. John John and I swam out of our home and Wayward ceased operations.

Susie McGarrySusie McGarry
Susie McGarry.

Stephen: What brought you to MadLab (and has kept you there)?
Susie: MadLab’s Theatre Roulette got my attention. Original short plays are my favorite and, admittedly, auditioning for a production with 40+ roles available was less intimidating then some other theaters around town. I was still super nervous but it was a great atmosphere. Plus, I managed to get cast in The Last Word as hitwoman, Mercer – one of my all-time favorite roles.

MadLab is professional without being pretentious. It’s serious yet relaxed. There’s also opportunity to try something new and to learn. They give you a chance. Then it’s on you. My kind of people.

Stephen: How did your art space come about?
Susie: My “super awesome special friend” (now spouse) Eric Shook introduced me to the Franklinton arts scene. Eric is a metal artist and when we met, he had a studio at 400 West Rich. Because of him, I started going to Franklinton Fridays open studios and other events at 400, The Vanderelli Room, The Idea Foundry and Rehab. I love the energy and sense of community so I rented a studio at 400 for a while.

Susie McGarry and Eric Shook.Susie McGarry and Eric Shook.
Susie McGarry and Eric Shook.

Stephen: How did you get into leading meditation sessions?
Susie: My initiation to meditation was through hypnosis. Hypnosis is a type of deep meditation and my guided meditations include hypnosis techniques. I’ve kept up independent study of mechanics of the mind for a decade. It’s fascinating what our brains are capable of.

Stephen: Where did you learn to perform hypnosis?
Susie: I was professionally trained and certified through a former employer. Using hypnosis, I help clients change their behavior (i.e. quit smoking, overcome phobias, improve eating habits) and achieve goals.

A Very Covid Christmas will be available digitally from Dec. 3-12. More information about the program, including a detailed schedule of the shows and ticket information can be found at

Columbus Makes Art Presents is a bi-weekly column brought to you by the Greater Columbus Arts Council – supporting and advancing the arts and cultural fabric of Columbus. The column is a project of the Art Makes Columbus campaign, telling the inspiring stories of the people and organizations who create Columbus art. Learn more about local artists, organizations and events at

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Stephen WoosleyStephen Woosley

Stephen Woosley is Publicity Director for MadLab

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