Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: John Steven Hirsch (1930-1989)

Theatrical director.

Born in Siofok, Hungary, he immigrated to Canada in 1947 and attended the University of Manitoba. He began his career with a puppet theatre, but in 1957 he and Tom Hendry founded Theatre 77, which in 1958 was combined with the Manitoba Little Theatre to form the Manitoba Theatre Centre. Hirsch became its first artistic director. The MTC served as the model for regional theatre in Canada. Hirsch co-directed the Stratford Festival from 1967 to 1969 and was head of television drama at the CBC from 1976 to 1979. He was a founding board member of the Manitoba Centennial Corporation (1963). In 1980 he became artistic director at Stratford, Ontario. He often directed abroad, and he won several important awards. He was given the Manitoba Golden Boy Award in 1960 and the University of Manitoba gave him an honorary doctorate in 1966. He died in Toronto of a complication resulting from AIDS. In 1993, he was inducted posthumously into the Winnipeg Citizens Hall of Fame. He is commemorated by John Hirsch Place in Winnipeg.

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Manitoba Theatre Centre, 50th Anniversary Sculpture and Plaque (174 Market Avenue, Winnipeg)


“These Manitobans will help plan centennial,” Winnipeg Free Press, 13 September 1963, page 9.

“These twelve Manitobans to receive Golden Boy Awards,” Winnipeg Free Press, 18 June 1960, page 12.

Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 17 February 2018

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society. We acknowledge that the collection contains both reputable and disreputable people. All are worth remembering as a lesson to future generations.

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