If the content you are seeing is presented as unstyled HTML your browser is an older version that cannot support cascading style sheets. If you wish to upgrade your browser you may download Mozilla or Internet Explorer for Windows.

Van Burek, John

CTE photo
John Van Burek

Ontario-based director and translator. He studied at St. Anselm College in the United States, at the University of New Brunswick, and at the University of Toronto.

Van Burek was instrumental, with Bill Glassco, in bringing the works of Michel Tremblay to the Tarragon Theatre, translating six of Tremblay's plays for their English-language premieres in Toronto, including Les Belles-soeurs. He has translated over fifty plays, particularly the works of Quebec playwrights, including Gratien Gélinas, Anne Legault and Suzanne Lebeau; and the works of English-Canadian playwrights into French, including Morris Panych and Dave Carley.

In 1967 he founded Théâtre Français de Toronto and was its Artistic Director from 1971 to 1974, and from 1980 to 1991, staging a Tremblay play most years to coincide with an English-language production at the Tarragon. In 2000 he mounted this company's production of Moliere's L'École des femmes.

He is also a founder of Toronto's Pleiades Theatre (launched in 1997), for which he has translated and directed, including Marivaux's Le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard/The Game of Love and Chance; and Hosanna in 2006. He was Artistic Director of Pleiades from 1997 to 2019.

He has directed over 100 productions, including plays, operas and special events.

Van Burek has taught at the National Theatre School of Canada, York University, Ryerson Theatre School, the Nottingham School of the Performing Arts (U.K.), University of Victoria and at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. For four years, he was a member of the Canadian Artists and Producers Professional Relations Tribunal and he is a member of l’Ordre de la Pléïade (Paris).

He has received many awards and distinctions, including the Toronto Drama Bench Award for Distinguished Contribution to Canadian Theatre, the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal and the prestigious Silver Ticket Award by the Toronto Association of Performing Arts. He sits on the Board of the Toronto Arts Council.

Information provided by Christopher Hoile.

Additional sources: Pleiades Theatre website

The Oxford Companion to Canadian Theatre. Eds Eugene Benson and L.W. Conolly. Toronto: Oxford UP, 1989.

Last updated 2021-02-11