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Sky Gilbert honoured in laneway-naming ceremony

Buddies co-founder says it’s important to recognize marginalized people

Brendan Healy, Kristyn Wong-Tam, Sky Gilbert and Connie Langille underneath the new Sky Gilbert lane sign.  Credit: N. Maxwell Lander

Even Sky Gilbert had to admit it might be appropriate that the sign pole in the lane named after him behind Buddies in Bad Times Theatre is bent.

At a ceremony officially naming the alley on Oct 30, Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam revealed that a truck had hit the pole on which the lane name is written just 24 hours before. The laneway was officially renamed over the summer in honour of the prolific playwright and co-founder of Buddies. Gilbert, who now lives in Hamilton, brought along his whole family, including his 88-year-old father, to celebrate this unique achievement.

“There was a discussion about whether we should clean up the laneway,” Brendan Healy, artistic director of Buddies, told the audience of about 50. In the end, however, they decided that they wanted the alley to stay the way it was because it reflected Gilbert’s own career — beautiful and challenging at the same time.

Wong-Tam added that it is important to her, as a consumer of art and media, to be grateful to those who produce it.

Gilbert said it is important for governments at all levels to recognize marginalized people in similar ways, then said he had one more message for the crowd. “It is important to say that I am not dead yet,” he said, adding that he’s still working.