Q & A with Lily Gladstone


Lily Gladstone on StageLily Gladstone was raised on the Blackfeet Reservation in Northwestern Montana.  

Of mixed heritage, Lily’s tribal affiliations include Kainai, Amskapi Piikani and Nimi’ipuu First Nations. In 2008, she graduated with high honors from the University of Montana with a BFA in Acting, and a minor in Native American studies.  Film credits include Kelly Reichardt’s Certain Women, Alex and Andrew Smith’s Winter in the Blood, Arnaud Desplechin’s Jimmy P, and Sarah Adina Smith’s Buster’s Mal Heart.  She has thrice toured nationally with The Montana Repertory Theater.

In addition to garnering multiple film and theater credits, she has facilitated countless expressive arts workshops with various social justice and human rights advocacy groups – including National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, Living Voices, Red Eagle Soaring, Longhouse Media, Yellow Bird Inc., The Roxy Film Academy and Conscious Alliance. Her emphasis is youth outreach and education.

Q: What was special about the Montana Repertory Theatre experience you had?

A: Having gone on three tours with the Rep, I have seen parts of the country and met people I never would have otherwise. I have made life-long friendships, seen amazing places and performed some of my greatest work with the rep. It has expanded my capacity as an artist and as a human being. I am forever thankful for my time on the road and on the stage with MTRep!

Q: Where did your work with Montana Rep come in your career? Student? Equity? What effect did it have on your career?

A: The Montana Rep has allowed me to lay the foundation for a vibrant career in theater – I started as a Non-equity professional right out of undergrad, and have become a member of Actors Equity Association through my three Montana Repertory Theater tours. I am now a company member of Oregon Shakespeare Festival, which was a direct result of connections made and talent grown from MT Rep family.

Q: The Rep has long since had a tradition of producing American Canonical texts. What is your favorite classic the Rep has toured? And why?

A: Tough choice!Lily Gladstone at the University of Montana
Aside from my biased love for 2014’s “The Miracle Worker”, I was completely blown away by Trip to Bountiful by Horton Foote for its noblilty and heart, and was in absolute stitches over 2010’s Leading Ladies – the pacing and energy of this sadly underapprecoated show was refreshing, and still stands out in my mind.
(Not that this is a platform for it, but I would really love to see The Crucible at some point!)

Q: If you could tell a student actor hoping to work for The Rep one thing – what would it be?

A: You’re doing yourself a great service in auditioning. The Montana Rep is a loyal family – Every moment spent in the theater is an audition, so be respectful, be humble, and work hard. A willingness to pitch in and be hands on, on and off stage, will go a long way. Touring life is not for everyone, but is wholly rewarding to those who dive in head first. Dive in. Give it your all. You’ll see the return in ways you can’t imagine.

Q: Looking back on your work with Montana Repertory Theatre, which singular memory stands out the most?

A: Standing on the beach in Galveston, Texas, breathing in the gulf air, knowing my life was changing for the better because of the “Miracle Worker” tour.