Ilkay Silk’s illustrious career in Canadian theatre spans over 50 years, starting from her arrival in Fredericton from London, England in 1970. Since that time, Ilkay has surely become the most influential theatre educator, culture creator, and arts mentor in New Brunswick, enriching thousands of lives. She received the Excellence Award for Arts in Education from the province of New Brunswick (1999) and the inaugural Playhouse Honours Award (2008) for her contribution to the performing arts in Fredericton. In 2016 she became a Member of the Order of Canada. Today, we celebrate her work with the CATR 2022 Honorary Associateship Award. A co-founder of Theatre New Brunswick’s touring Young Company in 1974, which tours to over 16,000 students across the province each year.
Ilkay began teaching at St. Thomas University in 1978. There, she led Theatre St. Thomas and taught acting courses, eventually establishing the English Department’s Drama Concentration.She retired from teaching at STU in 2014, having directed more than 60 plays there. Her influence as a leader in the province’s arts scene during the past five decades is extraordinary. Numerous testimonies of her students speak to it, her colleagues send her praise for her inspirational work as a professional theatre director, actor, playwright, and a talented administrator who would always recognize young talent and enthusiasm and support it in whatever direction it might lead.