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Alumni: Giving U of T more reasons to be proud

Alumni Portraits
Sky Gilbert
Current Industry: Arts & Culture, Civil & Political Rights, Education
Master of Arts (MA) 2000
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 2006, Drama

When he left Buddies in Bad Times Theatre in 1997, Sky Gilbert worked first as an assistant professor in the School of English and Theatre Studies at the University of Guelph University and then, after receiving his PhD from U of T, as the University Research Chair in Creative Writing and Theatre Studies at Guelph and an associate professor.

By his own account, his evolution from stage to classroom was driven by a love of learning. As he told U of T Magazine in 2003: “I’m always going to have that bent to read and write and learn new things.”

The Canadian Encyclopedia describes Gilbert as “a catalyst for the growth and development of gay theatre in Canada… His plays deal frankly with sexuality and gender, pushing the boundaries of what can and cannot be explored in a theatrical context.”

As an undergraduate, Gilbert studied theatre at York University, staging a number of productions including the musical Buddies in Bad Times – which he produced one summer at the Helen Gardiner Phelan Theatre. He co-founded Buddies in Bad Times Theatre in 1979 and was its artistic director until 1997 when he left to found the Cabaret Theatre Company. In 1990, he began making films. And he has authored six novels.

Gilbert has been recognized for his contributions to the arts with three Dora Mavor Moore Awards, the Pauline McGibbon Award for theatre directing, the Margo Bindhardt Award from the Toronto Arts Foundation, the Silver Ticket Award from the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts and the Relit Award for his novel An English Gentleman. He continues to produce plays with the Cabaret Theatre Company in Toronto and Hamilton.

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