John Van Burek

John Van Burek

Membership category : Honorary

About / Bio

John Van Burek is a director and the Founding Artistic Director of Pleiades Theatre, a producer of plays, usually in translation, originating in the many cultures of Toronto’s mosaic. He is also one of Canada’s foremost translators for the theatre, with some fifty works to his credit, notably the major plays of Michel Tremblay. Many of these were done with Bill Glassco, with whom Mr. Van Burek joined forces at the founding of the Tarragon Theatre in 1971. To date, eleven of his Tremblay translations have been produced at Tarragon. He has translated over forty 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 1971, John Van Burek was the Founding Artistic Director of le Théâtre français de Toronto, which he ran for close to twenty years. Throughout his career he has taught extensively, including at York University, Ryerson University, the Nottingham School of the Arts, Carnegie Mellon University and Victoria University.

He currently sits on the Board of the Toronto Arts Council.

Awards & Distinctions

Mr. Van Burek has received several awards and citations for his work, including the Toronto Drama Bench Award for Distinguished Contribution to the Canadian Theatre. In 1992, he was awarded a Canada Council “A” Grant for senior artists. This prestigious award allowed him to spend a year abroad, studying and working with major theatre artists in Nottingham, London and Paris. In addition, thanks to a special grant form the Minister of External Affairs and the Toronto Arts Council, he was able to undertake a program for the promotion of Canadian plays in both England and France. Mr. Van Burek has also earned l’Ordre de la Pléiade (France), the Queen’s Jubilee Medal and the prestigious Silver Ticket Award from the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts.


    French -> English
    English -> French

Literary Types

  • Theatre

Selected Bibliography

  • Tremblay, Michel. Bonjour, Là, Bonjour, Vancouver, Talon Books, 1975.
  • Tremblay, Michel. La Duchesse de Langeais and Other Plays, Vancouver, Talon Books, 1976.
  • Tremblay, Michel. Damnée Manon, Sacrée Sandra. Vancouver, Talon Books, 1981.
  • Tremblay, Michel. Sainte-Carmen of the Main, Vancouver, Talon Books, 1981.
  • Tremblay, Michel. The Impromptu of Outremont, Vancouver, Talon Books, 1981.
  • Tremblay, Michel. The Real World?, Vancouver, Talon Books, 1988.
  • Tremblay, Michel. Les Belles Soeurs, Vancouver, Talon Books, 1992.
  • Tremblay, Michel. Forever Yours, Marie-Lou, Vancouver, Talon Books, 1994.
  • Tremblay, Michel. Hosanna, Vancouver, Talon Books, 2013.
  • Tremblay, Michel. Marcel Pursued by the Hounds, Vancouver, Talon Books, 1996.

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