Born in Toronto, John Van Burek studied at St. Anselm College in the United States, at the University of New Brunswick, and at the University of Toronto. He has been a practising theatre artist for over twenty years, in both French and English, throughout Canada. He has also worked in the fields of opera, film and television.
In 1971, he founded the Théâtre français de Toronto where, over the years, he directed some sixty productions. He stepped down as Artistic Director of the company in 1991. Mr. Van Burek has taught at Ryerson Theatre School, York University and at the National Theatre School of Canada in Montreal. He is also one of Canada’s leading translators for theatre, most notably of Michel Tremblay’s plays, including Les Belles-Soeurs (Talonbooks). 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.