The 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.

2019 Recipient - Janet Delsey

Susanne Nielsen, Janet Delsey, Bibs Nielsen

“This is amazing,” said Jan Delsey, who is this year’s honoured recipient of the John Nielsen Memorial Award for 2018-2019. The award was announced at The Annual Meeting and Barbecue of Theatre Ancaster in June with some 100 members and friends in attendance at the home of Krys and Al Croxall in Jerseyville. 

“It’s a great honour to receive the Nielsen Award,” said Delsey, “I feel really privileged to work with this group of talented, passionate and dedicated people.  All the nominees are so deserving."

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.  The Chorus has flourished under her leadership, hard work and determination. The Chorus shows shine because of Jan's attention to decor and costuming.

"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.”

The John Nielsen Award was established to honour John Nielsen, Theatre Ancaster’s master carpenter for ten years before his death in 2003. John took on many projects both for Theatre Ancaster and his community.  In addition to his set building work with Theatre Ancaster that included building a whole town for Fiddler on The Roof and a pyramid to hold more than 50 people for Joseph, John restored the interior of The Ancaster Old Town Hall, built the town’s gazebo, did much work at the Senior Centre in Alberton, and headed the restoration work of The Tisdale House, Ancaster’s oldest heritage building.

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.”

Other nominees included Bob Carle, Krys Croxall, Lindsay Jones and Todd Rich.

“They are all wonderful people. We are lucky to have such community-minded, creative and dedicated people working for Theatre Ancaster and the community,” said Conroy.

Bibs Nielsen and her daughter Susanne met later with Delsey at their home. Bibs had the last word about Janet Delsey receiving the Nielsen Award.  “John would have been proud to know Janet.  John admired people who do things and get things done well and on time and jump in to help and lead by example as Janet does.”

John Nielsen Award Winners

2019 - Janet Delsey »
Nominees: Bob Carle, Krys Croxall, Lindsay Jones and Todd Rich

2018 - Jim and Angela Broadley »
Nominees: Jim and Angela Broadley, Bob Carle, Todd Rich,  Roxana Waldes-Wice

2017 - Michelle Chin and Martin Suichies »
Nominees: Michelle Chin, Janet Delsey, Frank Shackleton, Martin Suichies, Zachary Viola

2016 - Joanne Baker »
Nominees: Joanne Baker, Laura Bottrell, Michelle Chin, Mary Jonker, Michelle Smith

2015 - Tina Rath »
Nominees: Tristan Bernardi, Laura Bottrell, Janet Delsey, Tina Rath, Michelle Smith

2014 - Colin Lapsley »
Nominees: Jim Hemrica, Colin Lapsley, Nancy Ravoi

2013 - Sam Frisk »
Nominees: Krista Cranston, Sam Frisk, Agnes Niewiadomski, Lynda Switzer

2012 - Brent Wice »
Nominees: Krista Cranston, Sam Frisk, Colin Lapsley, Brent Wice

2011 - Randy Osatchuk
Nominees: Randy Osatchuk, Nancy Ravoi, Brent Wice

2010 - Melanie Barlow
Nominees: Melanie Barlow, Laura Bottrell, Whitney Lane

2009 - Harvey Elms
Nominees: all nominations were for Harvey Elms

2008 - Bob Penny
Nominees: Melanie Barlow, Harvey Elms, Jim Hemrica, Bob Penny

2007 - Jim Langfrey
Nominees: Melanie Barlow, Jim Langfrey, Stephanie Garant

2006 - Nupi Lapsley
Nominees: Jim Langfrey, Nupi Lapsley, Bob Penny

2005 - Allison Osterman
Nominees: June French, Allison Osterman, Mardie Panabaker

2004 - Jim Hemrica
Nominees: Jim Hemrica, Meghan Speakman, Veronica Watkins