Theatre isn’t always about the glitz and glamour of being on stage. There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes - from set and costume design to lighting and construction. Enter Harvey Elms, our incredible Head Carpenter, who at 83 years old, is still regularly practicing his craft with Theatre Ancaster.
Harvey first began carpentry during childhood, working alongside his father on his various projects. Over time, he found he had quite the passion for the craft and began to pursue it in his own time. In the eighth grade, Harvey won the award for the Best-Made Table, which he considers to be a big moment in his life.
Harvey became heavily involved with Theatre Ancaster in 2004, when a colleague of his - Glen Mitchell (one of our many talented actors) - approached him with an offer to help with an upcoming production of Oklahoma! Harvey accepted the offer and helped to build the set pieces. Five years later, Harvey won the John Nielsen award, an award presented annually to an individual on our production team who exemplifies professionalism, knowledge, dedication and passion to the production work of Theatre Ancaster.
Today, Harvey is still going strong working on three or four productions per year between the Spring shows, Youth Programs, and Main Stage productions. Harvey is currently working on Mamma Mia! (opening November 15) and he says this production is going to be bigger and better than ever.
When it comes to building the sets, Harvey is all about planning. First, he meets with the director to understand his/her vision. After discussing what is and is not possible, detailed blueprints are created. From there, it’s a matter of gathering the necessary materials and getting to work with his team - Nils Granholm, Mel Head, Frank Shackleton, and Martin Suichies plus a host of others who come out and lend a hand. It’s definitely a team effort!
Harvey is not only a hard-working individual (he worked at Bell Canada for 37 years), but also a compassionate one who firmly believes in helping those in need and treating others in the way you wish to be treated. He has been involved in charity events for the Canadian Cancer Society for over 26 years. Needless, to say, Harvey is always trying to be the best person he can possibly be and it is a belief that he holds firm. This attitude really shows in every aspect of his work, since every set piece or backdrop he helps to build is always flawless.
Harvey is loved by all and is one of the most valuable members of our Theatre Ancaster family. We’re not sure what we would do without him! Come see his work on stage in Mamma Mia!
Written by Dawson Nyffenegger
Each month we will spotlight a member of our company - volunteer, cast member, production member, etc. to highlight the people who help make TA a huge success.
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