1. Funding
  2. Prizes
  3. John Hirsch Prizes

NOTE: New for 2021, directors apply directly for the prize.

John Hirsch Prizes

Image of winners

Alexia Bürger (top), Jonathan Seinen (bottom left), Milena Buziak (bottom right)

Photo: Le petit russe (top), Dahlia Katz (bottom left), John Wright (bottom right)

Current Winners

Alexia Bürger (French language co-winner)

An enthusiast of both artistic collaborations and the meeting of disciplines, Alexia Bürger is a stage director and dramaturge. She works on performances and installations that combine fictional and documentary material. She recently directed 21, by Rachel Gratton (CTDA), Barbelés, by Annick Lefebvre (Théâtre National de la Colline, Paris / Théâtre de Quat’sous, Montréal), as well as her own play, Les Harding (CTDA / Théâtre de la Bordée / Théâtre Jean Duceppe), for which she received the CTDA public’s choice award and an award for best play (Montréal, 2018), handed out by the Association québécoise des critiques de théâtre.

Milena Buziak (French language co-winner)

Milena Buziak has headed the Voyageurs Immobiles, Cie de création, since 2009. There, she stages plays for adults and young audiences. Trained at Concordia University and the UQAM, she perfected her directing skills under Gervais Gaudreault, at Le Carrousel, compagnie de théâtre. She teaches acting and stage direction, namely at University of Ottawa. Her two latest productions, Traversée, by Estelle Savasta, and Le Cheval de bleu, by Marcel Cremer, both of which will be touring next season, are presented in French and Quebec Sign Language, and are therefore accessible to Deaf audiences.

Jonathan Seinen (English-language winner)

Jonathan Seinen is a director, actor, playwright, theatre creator and producer who has worked primarily through Architect Theatre, lemonTree creations, Saga Collectif, and Boys in Chairs Collective, directing Black Boys, Access Me, and Iphigenia and the Furies (On Taurian Land), which was nominated for seven Dora Awards. He also directed Hamlet in a Calgary community hall and Deathwatch in a Toronto art gallery basement. As an actor, he has worked with Tarragon Theatre, Theatre Calgary, Citadel Theatre, and Studio 180 / Buddies in Bad Times. He is a graduate of the University of Alberta, National Theatre School, and Columbia University, where he directed Cabaret, Our Town and The Seagull

What is this prize?

The John Hirsch Prizes recognize the artistic merit and potential of emerging theatre directors.

Who created this prize?

On his death in 1989, distinguished theatre director John Hirsch left a bequest to the Canada Council for the Arts to encourage Canadian directors. Mr. Hirsch made an extraordinary contribution to theatre in Canada, most notably as founder of the Manitoba Theatre Centre, head of CBC television drama and artistic director of the Stratford Festival.

For more information

Lori Knoll

Program Officer, Prizes


1-800-263-5588 (toll-free) or 613-566-4414 ext. 5573


October 2021


Prize amount

$6,000 each

2 prizes of $6,000 each

  • 1 prize for the English-language community
  • 1 prize for the French-language community

By application

Updated guidelines will be posted 2 months prior to the deadline. Submit your application by email.

Cumulative list of winners


For people who are Deaf, hard of hearing, or TTY users, please use your preferred MRS (Message Relay Service) or IP service to contact us.

Canada Council also welcomes VRS (Video Relay Service) calls. For more information, please visit the VRS Canada website.