Hamilton Fringe Festival

An 11-day unjuried theatre festival that happens every summer in downtown Hamilton

Faces of the Fringe


Claire Calnan – Executive Director

Claire is an actor, theatre-maker, and educator who has been working to help make the Fringe mightier since 2013. She studied English and Philosophy at U of T before traveling westwards to attend theatre school at Studio 58 in Vancouver. Claire worked with a whole bunch of young folk through The AMY Project (Artists Mentoring Youth) and has performed at a whole bunch of theatres including Tarragon, Soulpepper, Factory, Theatre Passe Muraille, and Theatre Aquarius. She is the recipient of the 2017 KM Hunter Award in Theatre, the 2017 Hamilton Arts Award for Innovation, a 2014 Harold Award, and the 2008 Crow’s Theatre Emerging Directors’ Award. She was voted the Top Theatre Artist in Toronto by NOW Magazine in 2009 and received a 2010 Chalmers Professional Development grant to support her studies of traditional theatre in Japan. Claire got her start in theatre at the Fringe.


Heather Kanabe – General Manager

Heather is an arts manager with over 15 years of experience working with cultural and corporate partners. She comes to the Hamilton Fringe after serving as the Festival Director of The Word On The Street Toronto, Canada’s largest book and magazine festival, for over four years. She is passionate about the arts in Hamilton and currently serves as treasurer on the Hamilton Artists Inc. Board of Directors. The Fringe Festival looks forward to the skills and energy she will bring to the organization.




Franny McCabe-Bennett – Associate Producer

Franny is a producer, actor, comedian and playwright with an extensive background in arts administration, focusing on anti-oppression and accessibility. Franny steps into the role of Associate Producer after previously working in a variety of roles with Factory Theatre, Buddies in Bad Times, The Toronto Fringe, The Next Stage Festival, Young People’s Theatre, SOULOTheatre, and Soulpepper. She has toured her award-winning solo shows across Canada and internationally. As a proud member of the queer community, Franny looks forward to connecting with the queer artists and stories of Hamilton.