Shining Star

Ben Kersey – September 2019

Ben Kersey in the orchestra of Annie, 2017.

Ben Kersey in Once on This Island

Ben Kersey

He’s a Dora Award Nominee, assistant conductor and rehearsal pianist for our production of Chicago, orchestra member in Chicago and Annie, Associate TA Camp Counsellor, performer in our Stage 2 and Stage 3 programs, usher at numerous TA shows, a variety of musical leadership roles (i.e. rehearsal pianist, musical director, conductor) at Hamilton Theatre Inc (HTI), Hammer Entertainment and Brock Musical Theatre, a Royal Conservatory of Music Grade 10 pianist, and accordion player – and he just graduated high school in June!

Needless to say, Ben Kersey is a highly accomplished musician and a very talented member of our Theatre Ancaster family.

Ben began his musical journey at the young age of six when he started taking piano lessons. He immediately found he had a passion and talent for music and spent every minute of his free time practicing. His parents, he says, had to pull him away from his piano on a regular basis because he refused to stop playing.

Ben has grown up in Theatre Ancaster – first joining Stage 2: Saturdays, a skills-based program focused on singing, acting, and dancing, at the age of nine.  At the age of 12, he joined Stage 2: Broadway Jr., a more advanced program which focuses on the growth and development of previously acquired skills and culminates in a full stage performance. Ben performed in Once on This Island, Alice in Wonderland and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. He graduated to the Stage 3: Young Company when he entered high school and performed on stage in Spamalot and Fame (played Nick, one of the leads). This summer Ben helped inspire a new generation of TA performers as an Associate Counsellor in our summer camp program.

Fans may also remember Ben, along side his beloved piano, as a member of the orchestra in our recent productions of Chicago or AnnieChicago, he says, presented a unique challenge because he had to learn an entirely new style of music. While he was used to Broadway and classical styles of music, Chicago required him to learn jazz. But that was not the only new thing he needed to learn for the show – he also had to learn to play an entirely new instrument…the accordion.  This was obviously not an easy task, but Ben pulled it off flawlessly as if he had been playing it his whole life. Despite Ben’s young age, he garnered the respect of a large adult cast immediately as the rehearsal pianist. All he had to do was raise a hand or utter a firm “focus, please” and he had every eye on him and complete focus from the cast.  Not an easy thing to do, but the cast really appreciated him and wanted to please him.

His greatest achievement to date may be his work in the French student playwriting festival Les Zinspirés, run by the Théatre Français de Toronto (French Theatre of Toronto) where Benjamin co-wrote the play Les Zinspirés: Cinq sur Cinq.  This play, which was selected by the festival, went on to be nominated for the Outstanding New Play award in the Youth Division of the 2017 Dora Awards.

With all his achievements and many more on the way, it is no doubt that Ben is one of the most dedicated and hardworking individuals. At such a young age, he has shown he is driven, passionate, capable, and is always full of surprises.  His humbleness, eagerness to learn and give back to others is what really makes him a true inspiration, not only for others his age, but for everyone else around him.  Sam Frisk, Director of Youth Programming, said “Ben is a terrific young man who is mature beyond his years.  He is as nice as he is talented. It’s been wonderful to see him grow and develop so quickly to become a force in the local theatre community”.

Ben is about to start a new chapter in his life – he will be attending the University of Toronto in September, pursuing a Bachelor of Music in Classical Piano, with a specific focus on the Comprehensive stream. (He’d also like to start an Elton John tribute band while he’s there!)

Remember the name Ben Kersey, chances are you will see his name in lights very soon!

Written by Dawson Nyffenegger