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Soulpepper was founded in 1998 by twelve Toronto artists aiming to produce lesser known theatrical classics. Soulpepper has since become an important part of Toronto's theater scene. It often presents Canadian interpretations of works by noted playwrights such as Harold Pinter, Thornton Wilder, Samuel Beckett, Tom Stoppard and Anton Chekhov.
Soulpepper's founding members are Martha Burns, Susan Coyne, Ted Dykstra, Michael Hanrahan, Stuart Hughes, Diana Leblanc, Diego Matamoros, Nancy Palk, Albert Schultz, Robyn Stevan, William Webster, Joseph Ziegler
In 2005, the Soulpepper Theater Company moved into its permanent building, the Young Centre for the Performing Arts. The joint project with the George Brown College theater school was designed by local firm KPMB Architects and is located in Toronto's historic Distillery District.
In January 2018, founding artistic director Albert Schultz was publicly accused of sexual misconduct by four professional actresses who worked with him at Soulpepper. The women involved are Kristin Booth, Diana Bentley, Hannah Miller and Patricia Fagan. Lawsuits on their behalf were filed against both Schultz and Soulpepper. Schultz resigned his position as artistic director on January 4, 2018. The lawsuits were settled out of court in July 2018.
Soulpepper strives to play a significant role in the development of future generations of theater artists through the Soulpepper Academy. This full-time, paid training program was launched in 2006. Selected through a nationwide search, 8 artists undertake a one-year residency to further develop their skills under the guidance of leading theater practitioners, further their careers through involvement in Soulpepper productions, teach in the classrooms of the local community, mentor youth and develop a collective creation.
The Soulpepper Academy program is divided into two phases. The first is strongly focused on training and pedagogy, while the second shifts to performance/production with ongoing training. The Academy is currently on hold and under review. 
- Parfumerie: Outstanding Production (2010)
- Parfumerie; Outstanding Direction of a Play/Musical, Morris Panych (2010)
- Parfumerie; Outstanding Original Set Design, Ken MacDonald (2010)
- Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?; Outstanding Performance by a Male in a Principal Role, Diego Matamoros (2010)
- A Raisin in the Sun; Outstanding Performance in a Leading Role, Alison Sealy-Smith (2009)
- Top Girls: Outstanding Direction of a Play, Alisa Palmer (2008)
- The Time of Your Life: Outstanding Performance in a Leading Role, Joseph Ziegler (2008)
- The Time of Your Life: Outstanding Performance in a Featured Role, Stuart Hughes (2008)
- Leaving Home: Outstanding Performance in a Featured Role, Jane Spidell (2007)
- Our Town: Outstanding Production of a Play (2006)
- Translations: Outstanding Performance in a Featured Role, Michael Simpson (2005)
- No Man's Land: Outstanding Performance, William Hutt (2003)
- The Bald Soprano/The Lesson: Outstanding Direction of a Play, Jim Warren (2001)
- Platonov: Best Production; Outstanding Performance, Diego Matamoros (2000)
- Platonov: Outstanding Direction of a Play, László Marton (1999)
- Endgame: Best Production; Outstanding Sound Design, Richard Feren (1999)
- 2015 - Premier's Awards for Excellence in the Arts, Arts Organization Award
- 2008 - DareArts Foundation Cultural Award to Albert Schultz, in recognition of his outstanding work in empowering and educating at-risk youth
- 2006 - Toronto Arts Council Foundation William Kilbourn Award to Albert Schultz, for contribution to the cultural life of the city
- 2006 - City of Toronto Barbara Hamilton Memorial Award to Albert Schultz, recognizing excellence and professionalism in the performing arts
- 2005 - City of Toronto Barbara Hamilton Memorial Award to Martha Burns
- 2004 - Leonardo da Vinci Award for creativity & innovation in the arts, to Albert Schultz
- 2003 - Salute to the City Award, for outstanding contribution to the cultural life of Toronto, to Albert Schultz
- 2002 - Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal, for outstanding contributions to the community, to Albert Schultz
- 2002 - Arts and Letters Club Award to Susan Coyne & Albert Schultz, recognizing worthy members of the artistic community
- 2001 - Joan Chalmers National Award for Artistic Direction, to Albert Schultz
- 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003 - Lieutenant Governor's Awards for the Arts, recognizing achievement in fundraising
- 1999 - Mayor Mel and Marilyn's Youth Award, for mentoring emerging artists or youth
- "Actresses accusing Albert Schultz of sexual misconduct had to 'suffer in silence,' lawyer says". cbc.ca. January 4, 2018. Retrieved January 5, 2018.
- "Soulpepper artistic director Albert Schultz resigns amid sexual harassment allegations". cbc.ca. January 4, 2018. Retrieved January 5, 2018.
- "Soulpepper case changed cultural institutions without going to trial, experts say". cbc.ca. August 2, 2018. Retrieved October 1, 2018.
- "Soulpepper's acting artistic director Alan Dilworth breaks silence on 'upheaval and change'". cbc.ca. July 10, 2018. Retrieved October 1, 2018.
- "Winners Announced for Premier's Awards for Excellence in the Arts". News release. Queen's Printer for Ontario. 12 October 2015. Retrieved 3 November 2015.