Theater Ancaster honors Bob Carle with John Nielsen award

Bob Carle, left, the winner of this year's John Nielsen Award, with Bibs and Susanne Nielsen.

Bob Carle is this year’s winner of the prestigious John Nielsen Award from Theater Ancaster.

“I’m honored to receive this award and to add my name to the list of people who have worked so hard to make Theater Ancaster the success it is today,” Carle said.

The Nielsen Award is Theater Ancaster’s only award and it is presented annually to an individual who makes a significant contribution to behind-the-scenes work over many years at the theater company. The award honors the memory of John Nielsen, an Ancaster community historian and carpenter, who built the town gazebo, restored the Tisdale House, and who was also the head set builder for Theater Ancaster for a decade before his death in 2003.

The presentation was made at the annual general meeting of Theater Ancaster, held virtually in 2022. Carle, who was in the midst of rehearsals for “Oliver!” and unable to attend, added his comments later.

“Since 2014, I’ve considered Theater 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. Theater Ancaster has been that ‘thing.'”

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

Carle 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, Carle again volunteered to be stage manager, this time for the mainstage hit, “Annie.”

In 2019, Carle made his directorial debut with Theater Ancaster’s first non-musical, Agatha Christie’s “The Mousetrap,” to round out his offstage credits. A hit with sold-out audiences at the Old Firehall Arts Centre, he once again proved that he is a strong leader and key player behind the scenes.

Carle is always willing to participate in any situation and has become a great friend to many cast and crew. He just wrapped up as stage manager for the mainstage production of “Oliver!” (where he also appeared on stage as the quirky undertaker, Mr. Sowerberry).

Moving into 2023, Carle is also preparing for Theater Ancaster’s spring mainstage production of “The Full Monty” where you will see him pull out his director’s hat once again. He already has a talented and dedicated artistic team working with him.

“It’s the people who make Theater Ancaster special; not only their skill sets, but their commitment and ability to work as a cohesive team. There are so many things to be done and Theater Ancaster people keep on slugging until everything has been completed at a very high level,” Carle added.

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