Robert Gilbert began his theatre career in 1981 as a trainee actor with Prospect Theatre Company in Hamilton, and has since appeared in scores of professional theatre and television productions. As a director, he has won Best Production awards at many NZ Theatre Festivals, Brisbane Arts Theatre Festival, Norfolk Island Theatre Festival, and the Best Director Award at Port Macquarie Theatre Festival, Brisbane Arts Theatre Festival, and at the Norfolk Island Theatre Festival an unprecedented five times.
He has written more than 20 plays, mostly for children or adult comedies. He has twice been shortlisted for the Playmarket Plays for the Young competition. His full-length play, Trans Tasmin, was selected as part of The Court Theatre’s annual Midwinter Readings series and was published in 2017.
Jack is a struggling paving contractor in Christchurch, New Zealand. His 20-year-old son, Charlie, lives in a world of gangs and drugs. Charlie is sentenced to a minimum of two years in the Drugs Treatment Unit (DTU) at Christchurch Men’s Prison but not before lending his dad $60,000, which he borrowed from the gang leader. An earthquake in September 2010 sees a change in Jack’s fortunes but the gang are putting pressure on Charlie for the money to be returned. Charlie is to be released from prison on 22 February 2011. That same morning, Jack is in the CTV building, filming a commercial for his paving firm. At 12.51pm a deadly 6.3 magnitude quake strikes the city.
Winner: PANZ Long Play Competition, 2017
Between the Aisles
The prejudices and weaknesses of four people are exposed through a short piece of experimental theatre.
First performed: Prizewinners, Oamaru Repertory Society, August 2016
1st Prize: PANZ 10-Minute Play Competition, 2016