Published in the Toronto Star, March 22, 2008

JOHN GLOSSOP: June 19, 1942 - March 16, 2008

After a valiant battle with colon cancer, John Glossop passed away peacefully in his home surrounded by family and friends on the night of Sunday, March 16. John is survived by his wife, Jennifer; his children, Ben and Erica; his brother, Bob; and his granddaughters, Gillian and Genevieve.

John was a high-school drama teacher for over 25 years, an acclaimed theatre director, author, screenwriter, and librarian. He was also an adjudicator for many theatre festivals, most notably the Sears Drama Festival, which named an award in his honour. As a teacher at Richview Collegiate and co-founder of the Etobicoke School of the Arts, John reached thousands of students with his compassion and enlightened philosophy. He was very proud that many of them became successful actors, directors, writers, and musicians. The family would like to thank the friends, doctors, and other health care providers who helped add years to his life, and all those who helped him publish his final work, Directing: The Art and Craft. A celebration of John's life will take place on Sunday, April 6, at 2 p.m. at the Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen Street W.

John Glossop has a long history of working with secondary school students as a teacher, director, writer, and adjudicator. He initiated the drama program within the newly created Etobicoke School of the Arts in 1980. During his time at ESA, Glossop taught courses in improvisation, Commedia dell’Arte, contemporary European theater, Shakespeare, playwriting, and directing. The school’s productions were featured on many occasions at all three levels of the Sears Ontario Drama Festival, garnering many awards. His students also received awards from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Young People’s Theatre (now the Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People), and the International Young Playwrights Festival.

In addition to teaching, John Glossop has led two professional theater companies: Les Goons Commedia Troupe (Centre Island, Toronto) and Theatre Direct Canada as well as directing shows for several other theater-for-young-audience companies. Two shows he directed while artistic director of Theatre Direct Canada (Getting Wrecked by Tom Walmsley and Love and Work Enough by Peggy Sample) won Dora Mavor Moore Awards in the Theatre for Young Audiences category.

Awards named in Glossop’s honor include the Sears Ontario Drama Festival’s Special Adjudicator’s Award at the Toronto Regional Showcase and the Outstanding Production Award at the Arts Huron Canadian One-Act Play Festival.

Here’s what drama teachers and festival directors have said about John's book:

Directing: The Art and Craft is a valuable handbook for all drama teachers, whether they work in high schools, colleges, universities, or the community. It reflects the author’s humanity and deep love of the art and craft of theater with and for young people.”
Wayne Fairhead
Executive Director
Sears Ontario Drama Festival
“For twenty-five years, John has been a primary source of inspiration and guidance for me as a teacher of drama and playwriting. Here are all the lessons I have learned from John about the art and craft of directing. This book is a must for anyone working with drama students.”
Debbie Barton-Moore
Former Head of Drama, Northern S. S., Toronto
“Over the years, John’s work in theater has influenced thousands of young actors, as well as fellow directors, playwrights, and educators. Combining deep insight, vision, and practical know-how, John has demystified and simplified the craft of directing with clarity and coherence.”
Janet Kish
Curriculum Leader of the Arts
Earl Haig S. S./Claude Watson Arts Program
North York, Ontario
“Reading this quick “how-to guide” is like having John standing beside you with his hand firmly on your shoulder. With gentle good humor, he makes all of your fears and anxiety about producing that school show disappear forever.”
Mike Halfin
Head of Dramatic Arts and Dance
Coordinator, Arts Huron Specialty Arts Program
York Region Board of Education

NOTE: The "JJ and J team," mentioned above, played at the upper bar in Joe Mercury's and consisted of John and Jennifer Glossop, Frank Shaw, Reneé Clegg, Simon W. and various other friends and family; John was the captain of the team. At Joe Mercury's, there was only one playmaker allowed per table. The team at each table might consist of 5 to 10 players. The team name was chosen by the participants present on the night of the team's formation and was often based on the initials of team members. There was no individual glory to be won by being on any Joe Mercury's team.

The pictures of John Glossop and Frank Shaw are courtesy of Jennifer Glossop. Most of the information on this page came from Jennifer Glossop and Renee Clegg.

Got an addition, a correction, or a comment? Please contact Don Denton.