Founding Artistic Director of the Manitoba Theatre Centre
John Hirsch was described as being full of life and energy, despite having been a child of the Holocaust and arriving in Winnipeg at 17 knowing few words of English. Overcoming his language deficiency, he became a scholar in English literature at the University of Manitoba.
His first love was theatre. Hirsch became the founding artistic director of the Manitoba Theatre Centre and was twice artistic director of the Stratford Festival. Steven Schipper, the present artistic director of the Manitoba Theatre Centre, called Hirsch "an artistic genius and there are few of these".
He became recognized throughout the world for his devotion to theatre. His legacy is that theatre now has a tremendous impact on the cultural life of the city.
Hirsch is also a member of the Order of Canada.
Winnipeg now has five regular professional theatre companies, as well as a number of smaller performing groups.