It is with heavy hearts that Tarragon Theatre announces the passing of Mallory Gilbert.
Mallory joined the staff at Tarragon Theatre in its second season and became an important member of its founding family. An American by birth, she came to Toronto in 1967 and began working at Alumnae Theatre as both a producer and a lighting technician. She started as Tarragon’s Theatre Manager in the 1972/73 season and became General Manager in 1975, remaining in that position until 2006. In her time at Tarragon, she was instrumental in creating a space where Canadian artists could thrive and create in an overwhelmingly supportive environment. She was a true pillar of Tarragon Theatre and by extension the culture and identity of Canadian Theatre.
Aside from her work at Tarragon, Mallory played a vital role in the Canadian theatre community as a leader and mentor. She was President of the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT), Vice President of the Toronto Theatre Alliance, and a member of the advisory board of the University of Toronto’s Arts Administration Program. She also served on the Arts Advisory Panel of the Toronto Arts Council, the City of Toronto Mayor’s Roundtable on Arts and Culture, the Board of Directors for Creative Trust and the Advisory Board of York University’s MBA Arts and Media programme. She has been awarded many of our community’s highest accolades including: the M. Joan Chalmers National Award for Arts Administration (1995); an honorary Life Membership in PACT (2004); the Silver Ticket Award from TAPA (2004); and the Keith Kelly Award for Cultural Leadership from the Canadian Conference of the Arts (2005). In 2007 she was awarded the Order of Canada.
In 2006, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of PACT, the Mallory Gilbert Leadership Award was created. The award annually celebrates and recognizes an individual who has demonstrated outstanding administrative or managerial leadership within the Canadian theatre community. Artistic Director Richard Rose recalls “Mallory was not only a pillar but a driving force in making our theatre community what it is today. Her commitment, passion and vision enabled new Canadian plays to thrive at the Tarragon, in Toronto, in Canada and around the world. Mallory defined the word leadership in so many varied theatres, associations, arts councils, foundations and funding agencies. We will miss her friendship, her inspiration and her spirit.”
A celebration of Mallory’s life will be hosted by Tarragon in the spring. Our thoughts go out to Mallory’s family and friends in this time of loss.