John Nielsen Award

John Nielsen

John Nielsen was our head carpenter for 10 years before his death in 2003.  John was a creative problem solver, dedicated to his craft and to Theatre Ancaster. He was a leader who always worked hard to complete any job well and on time. The John Nielsen Award is presented annually to an individual on our production team who exemplifies John’s professionalism, knowledge, dedication and passion to the production work of Theatre Ancaster.

The nomination for such an award is prestigious, as the list of nominees suggests.


(tap through slides to view previous winners)

Bob Carle (2022)

Nominees: Laura Bottrell, Bob Carle, Lindsay Jones, Erin Bree Pierce.

Bob has been with Theatre Ancaster since Jesus Christ Superstar in 2014 when he played the role of Annas. From that moment, Bob found a home with Theatre Ancaster and has since worn multiple hats within the company both on and off stage. In his short time with Theatre Ancaster, Bob has been a performer, assistant stage manager, stage manager, spotlight operator, producer, director, and served as secretary on our Board of Directors.

“Since 2014, I’ve considered Theatre Ancaster to be a second home. The people I’ve met have become family and the projects I’ve undertaken have been very rewarding. When I retired from teaching, I was looking for something to focus my time and efforts on. Theatre Ancaster has been that ‘thing’.”

Bob performed in several shows following his stage debut in Superstar – finally deciding to dip his toes into some behind-the-scenes action by assisting as a Stage Manager for the 2017 production of Spelling Bee. That same year, Bob again volunteered to be Stage Manager, this time for the mainstage hit, Annie. He has since directed TA’s first non-musical, Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap, stage-managed Oliver! and will be directing The Full Monty in 2023.

Work behind the scenes in a big theatre company like Theatre Ancaster does not always come with the same applause received by the cast on stage. However, it is people like Bob who are the most deserving of it, since Theatre Ancaster would not be able to put on the high calibre productions they are known for without the tireless commitment of dedicated volunteers. Bob will go to the end of the earth to make sure that his cast and crews are supported. He’s always the first one there, and the last person to leave at the end of rehearsal. His commitment to his teams and this company, along with his unwavering desire for excellence is what makes him a VIP with Theatre Ancaster.

Krys Croxall (2021)

Nominees: Laura Bottrell, Bob Carle, Krys Croxall, Erin Bree Pierce

Krys Croxall is a most deserving choice. She has been involved in every aspect of the work of Theatre Ancaster. She has been a producer, director, secretary to the Board of Directors and now treasurer. She has headed up a revision of the constitution for Theatre Ancaster and initiated popular shows such as The Christmas Radio Show with husband Al. Krys is also one of the founding directors for the new branch of Theatre Ancaster, The Classics Company, for those over 55.

“Being nominated before was wonderful, but being chosen is really special.”

Krys Croxall was a superintendent with the Hamilton Wentworth Board of Education for many years. “Since I retired, Theatre Ancaster has become my passion project. The company does wonderful work. It is a pleasure to serve and to be part of its growth and development. Theatre Ancaster is a great family. Thank you for giving me a place in it.””

Todd Rich (2020)

Nominees: Laura Bottrell, Bob Carle, Krys Croxall, Erin Bree Pierce, Todd Rich

“Most of the people who attend Theatre Ancaster’s shows don’t know Todd’s face or know about the work that he does, but I assure you that Todd Rich’s fingerprints are all over every single one of the shows we produce each year,” said Sam Frisk, Theatre Ancaster’s Director of Youth Programming, as he introduced this year’s recipient of Theatre Ancaster’s John Nielsen Memorial Award for 2019-2020.  The award was announced and presented during this year’s online Annual Meeting for Theatre Ancaster.  Several dozen people were present virtually to celebrate this year’s achievements, lament the difficulties due to Covid-19, and cheer on Todd and the rest of the nominees for the award.”

Janet Delsey (2019)

Nominees: Bob Carle, Krys Croxall, Lindsay Jones and Todd Rich

Michelle Chin, herself a Nielsen Award recipient, highlighted Delsey’s contributions to the crowd of supporters. “Jan is a Jack-of-all-trades and master of many in her 14 years with the company. She is a talent both on stage and off.”

The playbills of most Theatre Ancaster shows feature Jan not just once, but often twice or more. She created and manages the Theatre Ancaster website, welcomes patrons as part of the front-of-house teams, helps with props and has created posters and programs. In 2012, Jan co-developed the youth programs online registration system and continues to provide database support for the registration process each term. She has also served as secretary on the board of directors. Jan founded the Theatre Ancaster Chorus in 2013 and has been its program director ever since.

“Jan is a lovely, kind and supportive person, which is a big reason for the success of the shows she is involved in,” said Chin. “She does whatever it takes and is always willing to go the extra mile to make things happen. I cannot imagine Theatre Ancaster without her.” Gord Conroy who chairs the Nielsen Award Committee explains: “The Nielsen Award salutes a member of Theatre Ancaster’s production team who is a leader, like John was, who works hard, and by example, encourages and motivates others. That certainly fits Jan Delsey.”

Jim and Angela Broadley (2018)

Nominees: Jim and Angela Broadley, Bob Carle, Todd Rich,  Roxana Waldes-Wice

“Angela and Jim Broadley are a fantastic team. They are welcoming and positive as well as being dedicated and talented. They wear many hats behind the scenes with Theatre Ancaster and engage cast and production teams alike with their infectious passion for theatre to make it a wonderful collaborative experience for everyone.”

Michelle Chin and Martin Suichies (2017)

Nominees: Michelle Chin, Janet Delsey, Frank Shackleton, Martin Suichies, Zachary Viola

Michelle Chin and husband Martin Suichies are the first joint winners of Theatre Ancaster’s prestigious award that commemorates the work of the late John Nielsen.

The couple first got involved in Theatre Ancaster when they were looking for musical theatre opportunities for their children, Allison and Katrina.

Joanne Baker (2016)

Nominees: Joanne Baker, Laura Bottrell, Michelle Chin, Mary Jonker, Michelle Smith

“We have grown from an informal group of friends putting on a show to our significant community presence today,” said Croxall. “It’s time to honour the countless contributions Joanne has made…”

Tina Rath (2015)

Nominees: Tristan Bernardi, Laura Bottrell, Janet Delsey, Tina Rath, Michelle Smith

Tina Rath was presented with the John Nielsen Memorial Award at Theatre Ancaster’s annual meeting and barbecue.

The award was presented by Bibs Nielsen and her daughter, Suzanne.

“This is an incredible honour,” said Rath. “It’s wonderful to be able to be a part of this company and all that it has accomplished.”

Colin Lapsley (2014)

Nominees: Jim Hemrica, Colin Lapsley, Nancy Ravoi

Lapsley said he was quite touched by his selection, and said he knew Neilsen a little better than most people realize.

“He was always very curious about music and would often strike up a conversation full of questions about what I do and how,” Lapsley said. “He loved to draw comparisons between the work of a musician and his work as a carpenter.”

Sam Frisk (2013)

Nominees: Krista Cranston, Sam Frisk, Agnes Niewiadomski, Lynda Switzer

“I love what I do at Theatre Ancaster, so to be recognized for doing work that I love with people I like is a bit like extra icing on the cake.  And I love cake.”

Those were Sam Frisk’s words after receiving the John Nielsen Memorial Award at the annual meeting and barbecue of Theatre Ancaster at the home of Krys and Al Croxall in Jerseyville.

Frisk received the plaque and award from Bibs Nielsen and her daughter, Suzanne, who were once again guests of honour at the ceremony.

Brent Wice (2012)

Nominees: Krista Cranston, Sam Frisk, Colin Lapsley, Brent Wice

“I’m overwhelmed, I’m really quite speechless,” said Brent Wice after receiving the John Nielsen Memorial Award at the annual meeting and barbecue of Theatre Ancaster.

Loud applause greeted Wice when his name was announced as the recipient by Theatre Ancaster’s president, Gord Conroy.

Wice received the plaque and award from Bibs Nielsen, and her daughter, Suzanne.

“It’s a great honour to receive the Nielsen Award,” said Wice. “Though I never had a chance to work with Mr. Nielsen, I know some of what he did for Theatre Ancaster and the community.”

Randy Osatchuk (2011)

Nominees: Randy Osatchuk, Nancy Ravoi, Brent Wice

Melanie Barlow (2010)

Nominees: Melanie Barlow, Laura Bottrell, Whitney Lane

Harvey Elms (2009)

Nominees: Randy Osatchuk, Nancy Ravoi, Brent Wice

Jim Langfrey (2007)

Nominees: Melanie Barlow, Jim Langfrey, Stephanie Garant

Bob Penny (2008)

Nominees: Melanie Barlow, Harvey Elms, Jim Hemrica, Bob Penny

Allison Osterman (2004)

Nominees: June French, Allison Osterman, Mardie Panabaker

Nupi Lapsley (2006)

Nominees: Jim Langfrey, Nupi Lapsley, Bob Penny

Jim Hemrica (2003)

Nominees: Jim Hemrica, Meghan Speakman, Veronica Watkins