Canadian theatre wouldn't be what it is today without director Bill Glassco, who died Monday after a battle with throat cancer.
Glassco was part of the group in the late 60s and early 70s determined to champion homegrown plays and players, promoting a theatre that spoke in a Canadian voice to Canadian audiences. Co-founder of the Tarragon Theatre in 1971 and its artistic director for more than a decade, he championed the works of David French, Michel Tremblay, Judith Thompson, John Murrell and many others. From the beginning, the Tarragon was a playwrights' theatre.
I remember him as a gentle, warm man. He was one of the key people who shaped my idea of Canadian theatre, one of those who helped mentor my passion for Canadian theatre artists both onstage and behind the scenes.
When I came to Canada from the States in 1969 - more than a decade before NOW came into being - I naturally gravitated to the theatre, visiting the Tarragon regularly. It was, I recall, the only theatre to which I subscribed in the 70s.
After his Tarragon tenure, Glassco worked as a freelance director, co-ran (with Guy Sprung) what is now CanStage and collaborated with Chris Abraham on the Montreal Young Company.
I thank him for all the great memories he's given me over the years. I'll bet he's getting a standing ovation in theatre heaven right now.