About the Brickendens

Why do the Brickendens exist?

To celebrate and acknowledge excellence in independent theatre in London, in recognition of the continued burgeoning of new and non-mainstream theatre groups in London since the mid-90s.

The Birth of the Brickendens

In 2002, Christopher Doty, resident critic for the Theatre in London website, proposed filling an information gap by compiling a listing of the best shows of the year, thus recapping the year in London, Ontario live theatre. Jeff Culbert, co-founder of the Theatre in London website, turned Doty’s idea into a competition where nominees would be posted on the website, followed by an announcement of the winners on New Year’s Day.

In December 2002, Theatre in London co-founder and webmaster Sean Wilson created an on-line voting system for members of the public. Two sets of winners, critic’s choice and people’s choice, were created. These awards, in name only, were called The Brickendens, in honour of the late local actress, director and playwright, Catharine Brickenden.

What is the structure of the Brickenden Committee?

The Brickenden Committee has three levels of involvement, the Chairperson (Patsy Morgan) and administration, the Jury Panels, and the Awards Ceremony.

What is the make-up of the current Brickenden Committee?

They are committed individuals with a love of and varied experience in live theatre. For example, theatre columnists; those with experience in arts administration; those who have been involved in live theatre, but currently are not actively involved; members of the media with an interest in the arts; or avid theatregoers.

Brickenden Committee

  • Patsy Morgan – Chair
  • Matt Loop – Secretary/Treasurer
  • Richard Gilmore
  • Jen Loop
  • Rod Keith

Panel Members

The “core” Panel members are responsible for viewing a minimum of 60% of all registered productions. This means that a minimum of 5 core panel members will have seen every registered production presented in London; in the case of youth productions, a minimum of 3 panel members.

Core Panel

  • Bryan McLennon
  • Carol McKenna
  • Deb Laverty
  • Delilah Deane Cummings
  • Jacqui Vandale
  • Jane Hanbuch
  • Laurie Bursch
  • Robin Rundle Drake
  • Susan Price

Youth Panel

  • Angela Burwash
  • Barbara Weisdorf
  • Joanna Kerr
  • Karen Bailey
  • Rachel Weisdorf

Original Script Panel

  • Jeremy Greenway
  • Mary Neill
  • Rod Keith
  • Rosemary Moreau
  • Tim Condon

What does the Brickenden Committee do?

The Brickenden Committee presents annual awards recognizing outstanding work in all aspects of live independent theatre staged in London during the previous year. Awards are presented in the following categories:

outstanding director of the year
Actor – Male
outstanding actor of the year
Actor – Female
outstanding actor of the year
Supporting Actor – Male
outstanding supporting actor of the year
Supporting Actor – Female
outstanding supporting actor of the year
outstanding lighting design of the year
outstanding set design of the year (including props)
outstanding sound design of the year
outstanding costume design of the year
outstanding makeup design of the year
Original Script
outstanding original script by a local playwright
outstanding drama production of the year
Youth Drama
outstanding drama production produced by a cast and crew under the age of 17
Youth Musical
outstanding musical production produced by a cast and crew under the age of 17
Musical Production
outstanding musical production of the year
outstanding comedy production of the year — includes any form of comedy based on a script (i.e. does not include stand-up comedy, ventriloquism or novelty acts unless they have been encompassed within a play)

Panel members attend up to one hundred productions a year.

Nominations are made by the juror panels and the public from the list of eligible registered productions at the end of December. When the nomination process is complete, the juror panels and the public (via an online vote) select the award recipients in all categories. The awards are presented at an awards ceremony in January.

One award is selected solely by the juror panel members. The Chris Doty Award is given to an individual or organization to honour their lifelong contributions to theatre in London.

Production Registration

Eligibility Criteria

Any amateur production mounted during the calendar year (January 1st to December 15th) within the city limits of London by a predominantly local cast and crew is eligible for consideration.


Play readings do not qualify for the awards.

Productions originated by the Grand Theatre on either its main stage or in the McManus Studio Theatre — including the High School Project — are not eligible for nomination. However, registered independent productions staged at the Grand Theatre or in the McManus Studio do qualify for consideration in all the categories.

Independent Companies

To be considered for Brickenden nominations, a company’s output may be comprised of no more than 40% of current members of the Canadian Actor’s Equity Association within its Artistic Staff.

“Artistic Staff” is defined as the directing team, the stage management team and the cast. All other contributors shall be considered to fall under the term “Production Staff.”

The production cannot be officially acting under the rule of the Equity Association. As well, current Equity members in an independent production are ineligible if performing under Equity standards of pay, compensation or remuneration.

Programs must be submitted to verify this status.


A remount of a previously registered production shall only be fully eligible for Brickenden consideration after three full years have passed since the previous production run ended. If the remount occurs before that date, significant alteration of the elements–script, cast, artistic staff, production design, etc.–will be necessary for the production to be re-juried. In that case, the Brickenden Board will determine, based on submitted changes, which elements can be newly considered in specific categories.

Submissions of Lead vs. Supporting Actor

While the Brickenden committee will not interfere with any company’s choice into which category an actor’s performance falls, it is recommended that thought be given as to which category is most appropriate as it may improve chances for consideration within it. Is the actor in a “lead” role or a “supporting” one? How central are they to the story being told? Are they the focus or are they supporting the narratives of other characters? It can only help the actor to be accurately assigned and compete in the most beneficial category.

Registration Deadline

All productions wishing consideration MUST register on the website no later than 30 days prior to opening in order to allow the jurors time to book a viewing.


If you are unsure if your production is eligible or have questions, please contact the Brickenden Awards Committee.