ADAM BRYAN: How ALERT helped me produce my own festival
Hello! I wanted to start this post off with a little introduction. My name is Adam Bryan (not Bryan Adams) and I was a member of the 2017 ALERT Program run by the Hamilton Fringe Festival. I am also involved in this year’s Fringe Festival with my company Red Pants Productions, with an original musical called Jilted. Jilted tells the story of a girl named Sarah whose boyfriend won’t tie her down, so she ties him up!
Being a part of the ALERT program was something of a life changer, at least in taking my next steps as a theatre producer in Hamilton. ALERT stands for the Artistic Leadership and Entrepreneurial Training program, run by the Hamilton Fringe, which helps teach young artists in the Hamilton theatre scene how to produce their own work or festival, all while working on producing that year’s Frost Bites and the events surrounding it.
One of my most memorable experiences was going to Toronto to meet with my producing mentor, Katie Leaman, the Communications Coordinator at Generator, an organization that helps mentor, educate, and empower indie theatre artists in Toronto. Katie helped me find ways to completely revamp the social media presence for my company. With constant changes to social media and how those sites are laid out, sometimes you forget to update portions of your page because you don’t see those sections in the same place anymore. She helped me find the things that were out of date and update them. I also got the chance to see her in action as she taught someone from the Playwrights Guild of Canada how to prepare a media release.
Who knew I would be taking advantage of all the skills that I had learned from the ALERT Program so soon? In October 2016, when I started the ALERT program, I had an idea in the back of my mind that I was going to co-produce a one-off theatre festival during the month of May for Mental Health Awareness Month. A theatre mentor of mine had recently lost a long-time friend to suicide and had put some of his projects on hold, including a festival that he had run for the previous five years. I felt very affected by these events and that’s where the idea for MindPLAY all began.
A mini festival is something that I never anticipated doing or thought I had the capability of handling before the ALERT Program. I feel like the program is also called ALERT because it makes you aware not only of the task at hand, but of who you need to contact and how you can find the right people and tools to make your project happen.
I never imagined running my own festival before the ALERT Program, but I’m so glad I did. Not only was MindPLAY a success, but I already have people asking what’s to come next year. I’m not sure what will happen next year, but I know that after months of waiting, my new show Jilted is in the Fringe line-up. If it hadn’t been for ALERT, I’d be scared. Instead? I am prepared.
For more information about ALERT and to read more about this years’ team, click here.
Adam Bryan is a graduate of Sheridan College’s Performing Arts Prep program and of Mohawk College’s Broadcast Radio, where he received the FAN590 Scholarship Award for the highest overall average in his program. Since then Adam has been involved with the Hamilton Fringe Festival, the ALERT Program, HamilTEN Festival and now runs MindPLAY, a festival of mental-health focused theatre, with his company Red Pants Productions.