He studied at Bishop's University, and McGill before joining the National Theatre School of Canada. While directing The Unseen Hand for Toronto Free Theatre, he was asked by John Hirsch to join the Stratford Festival and serve as his assistant director.
Eventually he went to Manitoba and has been at MTC since, directing over three dozen plays, including the Canadian premiere of Steve Martin's Picasso at the Lapin Agile, the world premiere of Maureen Hunter's Atlantis); and for several other companies including the Winnipeg Jewish Theatre (notably their 2000 production of The Last Night of Ballyhoo).
He made international headlines, in 1995, when he invited the Hollywood star Keanu Reeves to the Centre to play Hamlet to critical acclaim.
Schipper conceived and directed The History of Manitoba from the Beginning of Time to the Present in 45 Minutes, an award-winning play that tours Manitoba high schools.
He has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of Winnipeg (2007) and the University of Manitoba (2015) and was appointed to the Order of Canada and received the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012 for his contributions to Canadian Theatre.
He is married to actress Terri Cherniack. They have lived in Winnipeg with their two children since 1987.
Sources: Pat Donnelly. "Mr. Turnaround," The Gazette (Montreal), 13 May 2000; Ned Zeman. "Keanu, From Both Sides Now," Vanity Fair, New York, Feb 2001; MTC website.
Profile by Gaetan Charlebois. Additional information provided by Barbara Myers.
Last updated 2018-02-01