Shining Youth Star Youth Program Staff

Over the summer and into the fall, we have had the opportunity to present a number of young performers who have been a part of our youth programs.  It has been a joy for us to be able to share some of the enthusiasm that these students bring to performing with you.

We have now shared all the interviews we held with our students, and while we have a few more things to share and post over the next couple of weeks, I wanted to take a moment to highlight the youth programming staff who spent time over the summer interviewing students and writing about the things that they are passionate about.  With live theatre still only a distant glimmer on the horizon, it was wonderful to see this group of teachers work hard to keep the arts and our kids at the forefront.


Danielle Viola Danielle Viola

First, I want to introduce Danielle, the Program Director for our Stage 2: Skill Builders program.  Danielle first came to us as a camper at our summer camps, and has been a part of so many different aspects of our company, working her way up as a staff member for several of our youth programs including our HWDSB co-op program with the HWDSB, ArtSMART, as well as performing in and later stage managing our mainstage shows.  She has continued working with us even as she completed her teaching degree and begun her career as a high school teacher.  We are glad to have her creativity and passion as a part of our youth programming staff!

Ashlyn Richard Ashlyn Richard

Ashlyn has worked with our Stage 1: Jitterbugs program for years now, shifting, chameleon-like to fill whatever role is needed at the moment.  She has led our youngest students in Dance and Crafting, and she has stepped up to lead the program when the need presented itself.  Away from Theatre Ancaster, she is a teacher with experience with several grade levels who is currently navigating the waters of teaching kindergarten virtually.  With our Jitterbugs, she is a caring and insightful leader, who thinks deeply to create meaningful experiences for our students!

Eryn Hartmier Eryn Hartmier

My first memory of Eryn is as a student performer in our Stage 3’s 2011 performance of Guys and Dolls. She was an enthusiastic singer and performer who loved sharing and whose booming voice captured the attention of people watching her. Since then, she has capitalized on those gifts, earning her teaching degree, and coming back to us as a staff member with our Stage 1: Jitterbugs program. She has served as an instructor in Drama and Music, and her warmth, energy, and enthusiasm continue to help our Jitterbugs find joy in performing!

Laura Bottrell Laura Bottrell

Laura needs no introduction around Theatre Ancaster. She has been involved in nearly every aspect of the company’s operation for the majority of her life. She joined our summer camps at the age of twelve, and quickly became part of the family. Since then, she has worked in nearly every youth program we operate, including serving as our Youth Programming Administrator for several years. She deeply cares about our students, and has time and time again come up with new ways to help our students, especially our youngest Jitterbugs, find their voice on stage. She is also a teacher with the HWDSB, and over our time working this summer, we were pleased to celebrate with her as she became a mother!

Sam Frisk Sam Frisk

And I am Sam, our Director of Youth Programming. It was a delight to get to work with this group of educators and artists over the summer. Meeting with them weekly and getting the opportunity to hear them talk about the students they were interviewing and the things they wanted to share helped to take some of the sting out of the reality COVID has imposed on live theatre and our youth programs. Despite the difficulty surrounding performing these days, our staff remains optimistic about the future and getting back to work with our students to build excited young performers, ready to take on the world!

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.

October 2, 2020 - Aidan (Youth)
September 25, 2020 - Owen (Youth)
September 18, 2020 - Kaitlyn (Youth)
September 11, 2020 - William (Youth)
August 28, 2020 - India (Youth)
August 21, 2020 - Kari (Youth)
August 14, 2020 - Ayla (Youth)
August 7, 2020 - Arbor (Youth)
April 2020 - Ellie Ketsetzis
March 2020 - Bob Carle
February 2020 - Owen Lapsley
January 2020 - Doug Holder
December 2019 - Taylor Wice
November 2019 - Harvey Elms
October 2019 - Allison Osterman
September 2019 - Ben Kersey
August 2019 - Erin Bree Pierce and Danielle Desjardins
July 2019 - Lindsay Jones