Hamilton Fringe Festival

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

Artists Emerging from the Indie Scene in Hamilton

Posted by on Jun 29, 2015

ALERT (Artistic Leadership and Entrepreneurial Training) is a new year-round arts education initiative that connects emerging artists in Hamilton, gives them opportunities to participate in workshops led by top professionals in Canadian theatre, and engages them in planning committees for a winter festival- set to launch in February 2016.

As emerging artists, many of the participants have shows of their own in the 2015 Hamilton Fringe, including Esther Huh and Rose Hopkins. Rose will be performing her one-woman show, The Rabbit Done Died, as part of the Gallery Series, while Esther is acting in Make Art Theatre’s production of Much Ado About Nothing. We spoke to both of them about their experiences as young artists in Hamilton’s burgeoning theatre scene!


1) How important is community in the Hamilton indie theatre scene right now?

ESTHER: Very! Hamilton indie theatre is just getting established and as such, there are few formal avenues to organize. That’s the challenge and beauty of any indie theatre scene – those that are motivated to make art, will, but motivation is essential. In a place like Hamilton, where the community informs the kind of stories you want to tell and produces storytellers of many different backgrounds, the necessity of drawing on others for support and the practical needs of putting on a show make the experience richer.

ROSE: SO IMPORTANT! When I moved back to Hamilton last year after finishing my BFA in Windsor, I was blown away at how welcoming the theatre community was. I’ve met so many people in a short period of time who have been so generous with their mentorship and support. If it weren’t for them, I don’t think I would have created Mooncalf Theatre or be producing The Rabbit Done Died at the Fringe this year.


Rose Hopkins

ALERT member Rose Hopkins performs her one-woman show ‘The Rabbit Done Died’ at the festival this summer


2) What are the benefits and challenges of spending time with young emerging artists, as you learn together?

ROSE: The benefits: Hearing about the awesome projects my ALERT colleagues are working on, learning new things about the way they work, create, and produce, and applying bits and pieces of that to my own process

The challenges: Trying to get eighteen extremely passionate and creative minds to focus on one thing at a time.

ESTHER: Young artists have an amazing energy, especially when they get together. There’s an optimism that comes with being a young emerging artist. The other part of being a young emerging artist is the “young” part – we collectively don’t have a lot of experience, especially when it comes to the practicalities of doing big things.


Much Ado

Esther Huh (second from left) and the cast of ‘Much Ado About Nothing’, performing at Theatre Aquarius in July.


3) Although it is early on in the program, has ALERT changed your expectations or inspired you to reach new goals?

ESTHER: The program is making me realize that generally, my expectations for myself are far too low. My cynicism stops me from taking on big projects sometimes. I’m learning that the best way to conquer a lack of experience is go ahead and do whatever and trust that the effort will be rewarding in the long run (and the short run too, hopefully).

ROSE: I love the workshops and planning we do at ALERT meetings, but more than that, I love chatting with the other artists on breaks and talking about the struggles we’re all facing as new emerging professionals. It always leaves me feeling energized and fearless, gives me confidence to pursue the projects that I feel are important, and gives me new energy to keep on hustling. I’m so excited to see what else this group comes up with, and I can’t wait to share it with the rest of Hamilton.


Much Ado About Nothing (Make Art Theatre) is showing at the Theatre Aquarius Studio

Show Times:
Thu, July 16  9:00pm
Sat, July 18   7:30pm
Sun, July 19  6:00pm
Mon, July 20  7:30pm
Wed, July 22  6:00pm
Sat, July 25  10:30pm
Sun, July 26         6:00pm

The Rabbit Done Died (Mooncalf Theatre) plays at the Factory Media Centre

 Show Times:
Fri, July 17    7:30pm
Sat, July 18  2:30pm
Sat, July 18  8:30pm
Sun, July 19   2:30pm
Fri, July 24  6:30pm
Sat, July 25  7:30pm
Sun, July 26  1:30pm
Sun, July 26   7:30pm