About

ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

STEVEN SCHIPPER

Steven is married to actress Terri Cherniack. They’ve made Winnipeg their home since 1987, when Steven came to Royal MTC to serve as Associate Artistic Director under Rick McNair.

Born in Montreal and trained at McGill University, Bishop's University, and the National Theatre School of Canada, Steven has directed many productions for Royal MTC, including the world premieres of Maureen Hunter’s Atlantis and Sarah Ballenden, Niki Landau’s adaptation of Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind, Bruce McManus’ adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Olaf Pyttlik’s musical adaptation of Ron Jones’ short story The Wave, Mark Stein’s Mating Dance of the Werewolf and its American premiere at the Rubicon Theatre in Ventura, California, and the Canadian premiere of Steve Martin’s Picasso at the Lapin Agile.

Steven conceived and directed Ross McMillan’s The History of Manitoba from the Beginning of Time to the Present in 45 Minutes, the Manitoba Prix D’Arts Award-winning play that toured Manitoba high schools, and directed the Winnipeg Fringe Festival production of Evgeny Schwartz’s Little Red Riding Hood with members of the Aboriginal Arts Training and Mentorship Program.

In 2007, Steven was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of Winnipeg. In 2012, he was appointed to the Order of Canada for his contributions to Canadian Theatre and received the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal. In 2014, to mark Steven's 25th anniversary, the fund was renamed The Royal MTC Endowment Fund in Honour of Artistic Director Steven Schipper. In 2015, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of Manitoba.

Select organizational highlights during Steven’s three decades at Royal MTC include:

  • Canadian premieres of Angels in America, Arcadia, M. Butterfly, Wit, Quills, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Death and the Maiden and Picasso at the Lapin Agile;
  • World premieres of Atlantis, Gone With the Wind, Not Wanted on the Voyage, The Secret Annex, The Wave and Transit of Venus (which went on to be produced by Britain’s Royal Shakespeare Company);
  • The expansion and success of the Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival, tripling its audience. Founded by Executive Producer Larry Desrochers and then Artistic Director Rick McNair, the festival is North America’s second-largest Fringe, presented by Royal MTC;
  • Under the leadership of Associate Artistic Director Bertram Schneider, the Master Playwright Festival was launched in 2001, galvanizing professional and community theatre companies and artists in an annual winter festival;
  • A $6.5M renovation of the John Hirsch Mainstage and Tom Hendry Warehouse theatres;
  • The launch of a community fundraising campaign to establish an Endowment Fund, reaching the original goal of $10M during the 50th anniversary season. The endowment fund is managed by The Winnipeg Foundation and has a current value of $19M. In 2014, it was renamed The Royal MTC Endowment Fund in Honour of Artistic Director Steven Schipper to mark Steven's 25th anniversary;
  • In 2010, Queen Elizabeth II honoured Manitoba Theatre Centre with a Royal designation; Royal MTC is the only theatre company in North America to have been so honoured.