Tom Mackan 1931-2022

A Tribute

by John Bandler

Tom Mackan directing Christmas Eve at the Julibee Motel 2016

Tom Mackan in 2016, during a rehearsal of Christmas Eve at the Julibee Motel.

  Photo credit: John Bandler

Tom Mackan 1931-2022

Tom, incurable lover of words and wit—right up to his final moments—wrote his own obituary. Only the blanks had to be filled in: (insert date), (insert place). Here it is, as it appears on January 8, 2022 in the Hamilton Spectator, with his signature ending, “Smile.”

Tom’s Obituary

John Bandler’s Tribute Intro

John Bandler’s Tribute

Tom Mackan and The Imaginary Invalid

Tom’s Obituary

“I was born on April 3, 1931, in Niagara Falls, Ontario and died on January 5, 2022, in Hamilton, Ontario. My remains have been cremated and the ashes scattered. Nothing further is planned. Thanks, everybody. It was an interesting run with mixed reviews. If I’ve offended you in any way, please let it go. It won’t happen again. If I sent some good your way, play it forward, so it will happen again. Smile.”

Published by The Hamilton Spectator on Jan. 8, 2022.

John Bandler’s Tribute Intro

Remembering Tom Mackan.

I was honored to write this tribute yesterday for the Hamilton Fringe.

Tom loved the Hamilton Fringe Festival.

That’s where Beth and I first met him in 2009. In a lineup for a show. And then again. In lineup for another show.

When he told us that his next production would be Breaking the Code, the story of World War 2 mathematician Alan Turing, I asked whether I could sit in on the process. Guess what? Tom agreed.

Published on Facebook on Jan. 7, 2022.

Mackan and Spanik

Tom Mackan (best director) and Michelle Spanik in 2010, receiving WODL awards for Breaking the Code (best production).

  Photo credit: John Bandler

John Bandler’s Tribute

The Hamilton theatre community is saddened to learn of the recent loss of Tom Mackan. As Tom was a long-time artist, patron, and supporter of the Hamilton Fringe and the greater theatre community, we share this tribute written by John Bandler:

Tom Mackan 1931-2022. If you didn’t already know Tom Mackan from community theatre, you would surely have first discovered him next to you, lining up for a show at the Hamilton Fringe Festival. Tom, for decades, a promoter and nurturer of artistic talent in the Hamilton and Burlington theatre landscape.

He loved the Fringe and directed several Fringe plays. Production large or small, where there was theatre, there was Tom, directing, acting, mentoring, watching, critiquing.

Winner of the Theatre Ontario 2013 Maggie Bassett Award for his sustained and significant contribution to the development of theatre in Ontario, Tom had the highest respect for the written word. As director, he would leave no stone unturned in his effort to make a writer’s words work. His wit was legendary, his kindness unbounded. His humor endured, right up to his remaining precious days.

Working alongside Tom, debating his personal take on a show he’d just seen, and enjoying the privilege of watching him in action, whether rehearsing an ambitious community theatre production or a modest one-act Fringe play, were among the highlights of my life.

Tom passed away after two days in Emergency at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Hamilton, January 5, 2022. Like me, everyone fortunate enough to have known Tom is heartbroken.

John Bandler January 6, 2021

Published by The Hamilton Fringe Festival on Facebook on Jan. 6, 2022.

Tom Mackan and The Imaginary Invalid

Here is Tom Mackan’s closing night speech for Theatre Burlington’s 2012 production of The Imaginary Invalid. It is a wonderful example of why Tom was so much beloved in the Hamilton-Burlington theatre community for his wit, kindness and talent.

For example...

Tom opens with, “We all owe Michelle [Spanik] a mighty debt for her steady hand on the wheel guiding the whole voyage and its crew safely to this night, to this warm and fine moment when we feel like champions. Dani [Podetz] has given us a first class vessel in which to sail, as fine a baroque barque as ever there was.”

He closes with, “And thank you all. Hie nos sum us, non est disputandum. Quod erat demonstrandum.”

Tom Mackan wins Maggie Bassett award 2013

Tom Mackan, winner, Theatre Ontario’s 2013 Maggie Bassett Award.

  Photo credit: John Bandler


Rotating Bandler Logo

Last Updates: January 8,9,10, February 13, 23, 2022, April 3, 2023.