John Nickinson

John Nickinson, soldier, actor-manager (b at London, Eng 2 Jan 1808; d at Cincinnati, Ohio 9 Feb 1864). He stimulated the development of theatre in Toronto and was father of an acting family.

Nickinson, John

John Nickinson, soldier, actor-manager (b at London, Eng 2 Jan 1808; d at Cincinnati, Ohio 9 Feb 1864). He stimulated the development of theatre in Toronto and was father of an acting family. He joined the 24th Regiment at age 15 and was posted to Québec City and Montréal where he performed with the garrison amateurs, notably at Montréal's Theatre Royal in 1833. Discharged in 1836, he played his first professional season in Albany, moving in 1837 to New York, where he specialized in dialect comedy. He established a pattern of playing winter seasons in New York and summers in Canada often as an actor-manager. In 1851 Nickinson put together his own company, loosely built around his acting family (Charlotte Morrison, Eliza Peters, Virginia Marlowe, Isabella Walcot and John Jr), and toured the Great Lakes and Lower Canada. Between 1853 and 1858 he successfully ran Toronto's Royal Lyceum Theatre, eventually turning it over to his son-in-law, Owen Marlowe. He acted briefly in New York before stage-managing Pike's Opera House in Cincinnati. His daughter, Charlotte Morrison (d 1910) managed the stock company for Toronto's Grand Opera House 1874-79.