Umbrella Talk with playwright Amiel Gladstone

In this week's Umbrella Talk, Amiel Gladstone talks about why every theatre should have a bar, cool filmmakers, and how nice it is to see other productions of his work.

A little more about Amiel Gladstone
Amiel Gladstone is a director and playwright.

As a playwright, his plays have been produced by Alberta Theatre Projects, Belfry Theatre, Caravan Farm Theatre, the National Arts Centre, Rumble Productions, Solo Collective, SummerWorks, Touchstone Theatre, Theatre SKAM, and Western Edge Theatre, in places as far ranging as France and Romania. A collection, Hippies and Bolsheviks and other plays, was published by Coach House Books in 2007.

As a director, his productions include the world premieres of Veda Hille's opera Jack Pine, Jason Bryden's The Dissemblers, Meg Braem's The Josephine Knot, Brian Fidler's Cam and Legs, Sean Dixon's The Gift of the Coat, Aerwacol and Billy Nothin’, Theatre Replacement's Yu-Fo, Elaine Avila's Lt. Nun, TJ Dawe and Michael Rinaldi's Toothpaste & Cigars, and his own plays The Black Box, The Wedding Pool and We Three Queens. Other directing: The Ends of the Earth, [sic], Unity (1918), Stone and Ashes, Zastrozzi. He has directed at Alberta Theatre Projects, Belfry Theatre, Caravan Farm Theatre, Firehall, the Guild in Whitehorse, Theatre Replacement, Ramshackle Theatre, Rumble Productions, Touchstone Theatre, Theatre SKAM, Vancouver Opera, University of Victoria and Langara College’s Studio 58.

He can be found at

What do you drink on opening night?
Usually whatever I can get my hands on. I think every theatre should have a bar. And you should be able to bring drinks into the theatre.

Who would direct the coolest production of one of your plays?
Off the top of my head, Michel Gondry or Richard Linklater. Both filmmakers really.

What scares you? What can't you write about?
Yuck. The last five years before death.

What do you want to write about that you haven't yet?
The story of my grandfather who was shot down in WWII and spent most of the war in a POW camp in Poland. They put on plays and gave concerts for each other while planning the Great Escape.

If someone was to write a play about your life, what genre would it be? (eg. comedy, tragedy, melodrama, horror)

How do you deal with praise? With criticism?
I try to keep my head down, either way. I'm tall. It can be hard.

Where would you like your work to be produced?
Toronto. New York. I've already done it myself, I just want someone else to produce now. Actually, anywhere really. It's one of my favourite recent things; go on trips to places I have never been to see other productions. It's been delightful.

Where do you write? Pen or keyboard?
Both. Pen, to jot things down. Then finally keyboard to make a draft. Then pen on the hard copy. Keyboard to incorporate that, etc.

What would you like academics to write about your work in 50 years?
His work is so spry and energetic - just like him.

What inspires you?
Music. Good deeds. Sitting through boring shows. Friends. Well prepared food. Adversity. Deadlines.