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News Release

February 20, 2007

Prof Launches New Theatre Company, Three Books, Play

Two stories on Prof. Sky Gilbert's research are featured in the Hamilton Spectator.

Over the next couple of months, University of Guelph drama professor Sky Gilbert is showcasing a play at a new theatre company he has founded, directing a presentation that’s part of the “Shakespeare: Made in Canada” festival, premiering a new play at Toronto’s Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, publishing a play and new anthology with Playwrights Canada Press and launching a novel.

On Feb. 24 at 8:30 p.m., Gilbert’s new Hamilton theatre company, Hammertheatre, will present its first play at 126 James St. N., above “The Factory” in downtown Hamilton.

“This project was inspired by the fact that I moved to Hamilton three years ago and have wanted to become a part of the arts scene there,” said Gilbert, who’s the former artistic director of Buddies in Bad Times and holds a University Research Chair in creative writing and theatre studies. “It all came together when the space for the performance was donated by a Hamilton arts patron keen on revitalizing the downtown core around the same time I received funds for new theatrical research.”

The workshop pay-what-you-can presentation of Crack, a play written and directed by Gilbert, examines issues of class, sexism and homophobia through a man sitting in a Hamilton bar who has encounters with three women.

On March 7, a performance directed by Gilbert as part of the “Shakespeare: Made in Canada” festival will take place at 8 p.m. in the Co-operator’s Hall at the River Run Centre. Three U of G students will perform Rosalind’s final monologue from As You Like It as part of the “Directing Shakespeare: Modes of Adaptation” event. Drama professors Ann Wilson and Judith Thompson will also direct productions at the event.

The world premiere of Gilbert’s newest play, Will the Real J.T. LeRoy Please Stand Up?, will take place April 12 at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, located at 12 Alexander St. in Toronto. Running weekends until April 22, it explores the scandal of an American woman, Laura Albert, and her husband who wrote books as J.T. LeRoy, a transgendered teenaged street hustler with HIV. They successfully fooled publishers and readers until LeRoy’s true identity was revealed in 2006. Gilbert’s play is a confrontation between “the real” J.T. LeRoy and Albert.

Gilbert also has two new works published by Playwrights Canada Press. His 2006 play, Bad Acting Teachers, which premiered at Buddies last year, was published in January. He is also the editor of a new anthology called Perfectly Abnormal: Seven Gay Plays.

The seven plays explore ideas about gender and possibilities for human relationships other than those offered by traditional heterosexual marriage, said Gilbert.

“The title says it all. Instead of focusing on the ways in which gay culture and straight culture are similar and celebrating our assimilation into straight culture, this collection accentuates the wonderful ways in which gay culture celebrates human diversity and sexual and gender differences.”

On May 2, Gilbert will celebrate the launch of his fifth novel, Brother Dumb, at 7:30 p.m. at the Gladstone Hotel Ballroom, located at 1214 Queen St. W. in Toronto.

“I haven’t put out a novel in a couple of years, so I’m really excited about it,” said Gilbert, who received a ReLit Award for his fourth novel, An English Gentleman. “It’s about a reclusive American writer who lives in the woods and doesn’t like people. Everyone has been wondering what he’s been writing because he hasn’t published anything for 30 years.” The novel is a fictional memoir of an American literary icon.

Sky Gilbert
School of English and Theatre Studies
519-824-4120, Ext. 53237, or

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rachelle Cooper, Ext. 56982.

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