Posts Tagged ‘Christopher Morris’

Hirsch’s Gift To Future Generations of Directors

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

I never met John Hirsch or saw any of his plays.  I’m also convinced that the Canadian theatre community does a pretty poor job of chronicling, learning and respecting our own history, even though it is fabulous and full of amazing stories and individuals.  So I first found out about John Hirsch when I was a much younger director, through the Canada Council’s John Hirsch Prize.  On his death in 1989, John Hirsch left a bequest to the Canada Council for the Arts to assist and encourage Canadian directors. The John Hirsch Prize is a tribute to the extraordinary contribution Mr. Hirsch made to theatre in Canada, most notably as founder of the Manitoba Theatre Centre, head of television drama for the CBC and artistic director of the Stratford Festival. The Prize was created in 1995 to recognize new and developing theatre directors who have demonstrated great potential for future excellence and exciting artistic vision. Two $6,000 prizes are awarded every two years, one for each of the Anglophone and Francophone theatre communities.  You can find out more about it here.

The Ontario Arts Council also has a similar program – The John Hirsch Director’s Award.

In 2012 Toronto director Christopher Morris won the Canada Council John Hirsch Prize. Those that saw Touchstone Theatre’s co-presentation of Night at the PuSh Festival will know Morris’ work and his daring investigation of uncharted communities and issues.  Finding out about Hirsch through the legacy of this Prize has forever connected his name with the cause of young directors in Canada, and with the many brilliant artists who have been recognized and encouraged by the award.

Katrina Dunn
Artistic Director
Touchstone Theatre