Hamilton Fringe Festival

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

The Fringe Blog!

ALERT Spotlight: Jamie Milay Kasiama

ALERT is professional development program for emerging artistic leaders who want to help redefine the theatre culture in Hamilton. Participants work with theatre artists and mentors to develop their artistic and producing skills and help produce the Frost Bites Festival in February 2018. Jamie Milay Kasiama takes on the job of Box Office Co-ordinator for the Frost Bites Festival. JAMIE MILAY KASIAMA Jamie Milay Kasiama is an emerging multidisciplinary artist whose practice includes film, photography, performance, collage, installation, sound, and poetry. They are currently in their final year of Theatre & Film Studies and Multimedia at McMaster University. Jamie is primarily interested in creating performance-based work that challenges the notion of binaries, and explores lateral violence and power dynamics within marginalized communities. Jamie is currently developing SANCTION, a sound poem piece exploring intimate partner violence in queer relationships, with House & Body as part of the Playwrights Initiative. Jamie is also currently developing their thesis project, The Devil is a Feminist, an autobiographical performance and installation piece exploring assemblages, and perceptions of black femininity and queerness. Jamie is acting as Box Office co-ordinator for Frostbites, and is extremely excited to be developing their skills as an artist-producer, through the ALERT program. What excites you about the ALERT program? What drew you to it? What excited me about the ALERT program was the opportunity to learn more about how to produce work and curate a festival in the city of Hamilton. I was also excited to meet and learn from other emerging artists within the city. I really want to contribute to the growing Hamilton theatre scene, especially since many of my peers at McMaster are developing more interest in post-dramatic, site-specific, and experimental works. I know that there is a growing desire to see more work like this in the city, and there is an audience here for it. What are you looking forward to at FrostBites? Having done it last year, I am so excited to see how the artists transform the spaces they are given. It’s an awesome challenge and the stories that come out of it or the way the spaces are utilized are always so fascinating. I’m excited for all the people who will come out and be inspired to apply next year by what they see this year. Why do you love Hamilton? It’s an intimate city. The artists here tend to be multidisciplinary and there are people ready to help you make art if you are willing to ask. What are your favourite spots in Hamilton? Favourite spots… Centre 3 is amazing. Oh! And Factory Media Centre. And the Library. I love reading. I love going to Cora’s for breakfast, or actually Wimpy’s diner! Or Pancake House. Or Tally Ho! I love food. So much. In terms of shopping, any thrift store or clothing swap event is probably where I got clothes. For more information about the ALERT Program and its participants, click...

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ALERT Spotlight: Krista Colosimo

ALERT Spotlight: Krista Colosimo

ALERT is professional development program for emerging artistic leaders who want to help redefine the theatre culture in Hamilton. Participants work with theatre artists and mentors to develop their artistic and producing skills and help produce the Frost Bites Festival in February 2018. Krista Colosimo takes on the job of Volunteer Co-Ordinator for the Frost Bites Festival.  KRISTA COLOSIMO Krista is an actor, director, producer and arts educator.  She has performed at various theatre companies across the country, including The Shaw Festival, Thousand Islands Playhouse, Western Canada Theare, and The Segal Centre.  Most recently Krista directed Venus in Fur at the Staircase Theatre in Hamilton.  Krista is the Artistic Associate of Rook’s Theatre and a graduate of The National Theatre School of Canada. What excites you about the ALERT program? What drew you to it? I’m excited to connect with other Hamilton artists and learn more about what it takes to produce theatre in this amazing city! What are you looking forward to at FrostBites? I’m really looking forward to seeing what the different artists come up with. Why do you love Hamilton? I love Hamilton’s strong sense of community.   What are your favourite spots in Hamilton? Gage Park, Vintage Coffee, and Ottawa Street. For more information about the ALERT Program and its participants, click...

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ALERT Spotlight: Michael Kras

ALERT Spotlight: Michael Kras

ALERT is professional development program for emerging artistic leaders who want to help redefine the theatre culture in Hamilton. Participants work with theatre artists and mentors to develop their artistic and producing skills and help produce the Frost Bites Festival in February 2018. Michael Kras takes on the job of Guide Liaison/Script Development for the Frost Bites 2018. MICHAEL KRAS Michael Kras is a Hamiltonian theatre-maker and theatre-doer. He is the 2017 recipient of the prestigious Voaden Prize for his play The Team, which was also one of four national finalists for the Safe Words New Canadian Play Award. Other works include #dirtygirl (Hamilton Fringe, winner: Audience Choice Award), and For Kiera (Broken Soil Theatre, finalist: HA&L Short Works Prize). Michael’s acting credits include A Few Good Men (Theatre Aquarius); Your Own Sons, An Ordinary Asset (Same Boat Theatre); and Approaching Zero (Calm, Cool & Collective). Michael is a graduate of the acting conservatory at Humber College, the artistic director of Hamilton’s own Broken Soil Theatre, and a member of the Theatre Aquarius Playwrights Unit. What excites you about the ALERT program? What drew you to it? Leaving theatre school can feel lonely and terrifying. With a training program like ALERT, I have a forum that not only connects me to other local professionals who are similarly invested in developing Hamilton’s theatre scene, but also gives the practical training to make it happen and makes me feel less lost at sea. What are you looking forward to at FrostBites? So many things! Events like Frost Bites help redefine what ‘theatre’ is by pulling it out of a traditional performance venue and turning it into more of a party, a social event. Theatre doesn’t have to be uptight, formal, and reserved for those of a certain age and class (and I personally think the best theatre isn’t any of those things). Frost Bites promises to flip the script and show people that theatre can be for anyone and everyone. I’m excited to see what new faces will come to experience it. Why do you love Hamilton? I always call it a big city with a small town vibe. We’re a community of hard workers with a constant hand to lend. Best of all, we’re determined to become an arts and culture hub, and do it in a way that no other community could. Hamilton is singular, and the people here know it. What are your favourite spots in Hamilton? Oh boy, what’s my word limit on this one? I’m a coffee and beer nerd, and luckily Hamilton is flourishing in both of those arenas. In my mornings, I frequent Smalls Coffee, a small and simple grab-and-go coffee shop run by wonderful people who are LEGIT about their daily grind. For my evening fix of the more adult kind of brew, I’m a huge supporter of Hamilton’s growing craft beer scene, especially Merit Brewing, Fairweather Brewing, and Grain & Grit (which all opened this year alone! Go Hamilton!) For more information about the ALERT Program and its participants, click...

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ALERT Spotlight: Stephanie Hope Lawlor

ALERT Spotlight: Stephanie Hope Lawlor

ALERT is professional development program for emerging artistic leaders who want to help redefine the theatre culture in Hamilton. Participants work with theatre artists and mentors to develop their artistic and producing skills and help produce the Frost Bites Festival in February 2018. Stephanie Hope Lawlor takes on the job of Social Media for the Frost Bites Festival. STEPHANIE HOPE LAWLOR Stephanie is a professional actor and teaching artist. She has appeared on stage at Theatre Aquarius, Stage West, the Berkeley Street Theatre, Toronto Fringe and NextStage Festivals, Drayton Entertainment, and is a graduate of McMaster University and Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts. She is a founding member of the actors training collective The Actor’s Forge and Artistic Director of Hamilton-based independent theatre company Rook’s Theatre. What excites you about the ALERT program? What drew you to it? Producing theatre has always intimidated me, and ALERT provides the information and tools to make is less daunting. The workshops have been invaluable, while having a hand in producing Frost Bites allows us to put the skills into action. Working alongside 6 other artists with very different points of view and goals is exciting, and getting to collaborate is a treat. What are you looking forward to at FrostBites? I can’t wait to see how the artists in the Festival use the space to tell a story. Site-specific theatre lets the imagination run wild and I’m looking forward to see what 7 different companies will come up with. Why do you love Hamilton? Hamilton has industrious roots, and that influences the way the city is growing and changing. I’m loving the vitality that’s pumping through parts of the city that I never expected.  What are your favourite spots in Hamilton? For coffee, Salty Espresso and RedChurch; the McMaster campus always feels like home; I love antiquing down on Ottawa Street; and (of course) Art Crawling down James North. For more information about the ALERT Program and its participants, click...

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ALERT Spotlight: Emma Grafham

ALERT Spotlight: Emma Grafham

ALERT is professional development program for emerging artistic leaders who want to help redefine the theatre culture in Hamilton. Participants work with theatre artists and mentors to develop their artistic and producing skills and help produce the Frost Bites Festival in February 2018. Emma Grafham takes on the job of Ad Sales & Sponsorship for the Frost Bites Festival. EMMA GRAFHAM Emma is an emerging (theatre) artist and performer, and Hamilton native. Having recently graduated from a drama and performance BA program Emma is very excited to be apart of ALERT to expand her theatre producing skills and begin to approach her own theatre making with more entrepreneurial confidence. What excites you about the ALERT program? What drew you to it? The ALERT program is a fantastic opportunity to get hands on producing experience and to participate in one on one mentorship and workshops from other experienced producers in the GTA. The ALERT program excites me because I get to work with a great group of eager, young local producers on a festival that is so focused on engaging the community and making many emerging theatre artists’ work accessible to the community. What are you looking forward to at FrostBites? Site-specific theatre can bring so much life to the most unexpected of places and it’s about time more Hamilton audiences got to experience the wonderment that site specific work can provoke! I look forward to experiencing Frost Bites 2018 in this new restored space. For more information about the ALERT Program and its participants, click...

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Staff Picks of Fringe: Home Edition!

Staff Picks of Fringe: Home Edition!

Need a little help navigating the Fringe this year? Next in our series of themed Fringe programming picks by our summer staff! This time out we’ve got Fringe Binge: Home Edition, with selections from Avery, our Assistant Box Office Coordinator! What does it mean to call a place “home”?  Is “home” a place where you grew up, where you live now, or where you’re headed? Perhaps “home” does need to be tethered to a place, but instead a time, a person, or a story. No matter where your home is, the Hamilton Fringe Festival has a show that will help you to explore the relationship between identity, belonging, and place. Having grown up with the City of Hamilton as my home, I am excited to see the cast of storytellers share their accounts in Tales from the Hamilton 7 at The Staircase’s Main Space. At The Player’s Guild, the ensemble cast of Up Here tells a story through the medium of physical theatre. Up Here pulls an investigative journalist deep into the secretive stories of a strange town and the people that call it home. Chantrina Tam, creator/writer/performer, explores the concept of “home” as it relates to cultural identity in Someone Between, a one-person piece being performed at Hamilton Theatre Inc. For Eden, a 17-minute interactive art installation at Factory Media Centre, also focuses on The Hammer. For Edenlooks at the experience of being homeless in Hamilton, Ontario. When your home planet faces an imminent apocalypse, where do you go? First Class, a McMaster Honours Performance Series presentation, tells the story of unique characters who find themselves trapped inside of an old diner during an environmental emergency on Earth. Also affiliated with McMaster, We Are Not The Others, is a product of a two-year research project that was funded by the Hamilton Community Foundation. Playing at Mills Hardware, We Are Not The Others uses real stories from immigrant women in Hamilton as it describes their experiences as newcomers to a foreign home. To see all of these shows for only $48 in total, consider using a Fringe Binge Pass, which allows you to see six shows at a rate of $8/each! All money from these ticket sales goes right back to the artists who put on these performances and share their stories of home. Avery is a 3rd year Arts and Science student at McMaster University who has grown up in Dundas and Hamilton. Avery has keen interests in theatre and the Hamilton community. She is delighted to be working with Fringe volunteers, patrons, artists, and staff for the second summer in a...

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ADAM BRYAN: How ALERT helped me produce my own festival

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...

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Staff Picks of Fringe: It’s Complicated!

Staff Picks of Fringe: It’s Complicated!

Need a little help navigating the Fringe this year? This is the third in our series of themed Fringe programming picks by our summer staff! This time out we’ve got Fringe Binge: It’s Complicated, with selections from Eloane, our summer student coming all the way from Quebec! Human beings are, and always will be, beautifully complicated and their relationships are even more complex. Here’s a list of six shows that demonstrate how difficult and intense but also wonderful, relationships can be. First on the list is The Lost Years, a comedy that skillfully reveals the sacrifices that parents make for their kids. Following is Grandfather’s Secret, a dramedy about discovering what a grandfather is hiding from his family. Again, I have here for you a mysterious drama, Open the Lace Curtains, which presents the story of a family that appears to be normal but who is secretly having issues. Two Sisters is another dramedy that brings us to 1880’s Russia where Anya and Sonia find an empty coffin in Anya’s house. This performance makes us understand how escaping from the past is impossible, but also how sisterly love can conquer all. Next is something a little deeper and darker. Moral Deficit is about two friends, three days, and the end of the dollar as we know it. And finally, there is Perfect Couples. This dramatic show is talking about the impact of mental illness on 4 young adult couples while one of their friends is trying to figure herself out after experiencing trauma.   Eloane Bedard comes to us all the way from Sherbrooke, Quebec on an exchange program with the YMCA. When she’s not working in the Fringe office, you can catch her in Gage Park promoting all things Fringe at the Summer...

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KELLY WOLF: Design and Performance in Small Spaces

KELLY WOLF: Design and Performance in Small Spaces

by Kelly Wolf You can do anything in Hamilton. I really believe that. Several years ago, I decided that if I wanted to be a part of a vibrant theatre community in Hamilton I had to get involved. I volunteered as a Venue Captain in 2014 and was thrilled and amazed by the audiences that showed up and the sense of community that was created. So, some people around the Fringe know me as a Venue Captain. Other people may know me as a set and costume designer. This year, I am producing a new play, Normal Shmormal, that is part of the Hamilton Fringe Festival’s Gallery Series in the Evergreen Cityworks space. Two years ago, I attended the Prague Quadrennial, an exhibition of design for theatre performance from around the world. It changed the way I approach my work; my theatre making. I saw designers crossing over into an area of performativity that really inspired me. In this context, the designers were the instigators. This was so exciting to me and I could hardly wait to get back home to find opportunities to create new work. As a result, I created two site-specific works with other collaborators for the Frost Bites Festival. One Small Drop told three stories of women who might have worked in the Imperial Cotton Factory, and was created to play within the women’s washroom. A second project, In Sight, was inspired by my father’s stroke and process of recovery. Presented in the Art Gallery of Hamilton, performers responded to the existing installation to piece together parts of the story of a life lived. It was fantastic to have the organizational support of the Frost Bites Festival and this year I felt I was ready to take the next step. Fringe Gallery Series performances are no more than 20 minutes long and use the existing spaces as they are, with limited stage set up. As a designer, this kind of a project really appeals to me. I love to listen to what the space provides and to work with that information. We will make full use of the existing storefront gallery configuration. As an organization, the Evergreen Cityworks is committed to making a direct impact upon the way we interact with each other. As we use their space, I see our project as an extension of that mandate on an intimate scale. At the level of family relationships, we are looking for ways that transform the way we live with and understand each other. Normal Shmormal is a sometimes humorous, sometimes serious response to a father/son relationship. The wrinkle in this relationship is that this father and son both have ADHD. When your children are born you check them out; 10 fingers, 10 toes, yes everything is there, great, now moving on. Little do we know that this is just the tip of the iceberg. What do we know about the mental health of this child? Parents want to try and raise their children to be as normal as possible, so that they may lead happy lives. It may take a bit of time, but eventually you may start to ask yourself, is this a normal kid? With this project we also want the audience to ask themselves, why are we so hung up on normal...

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2017 FRINGE CLUB: Serve Ping Pong

2017 FRINGE CLUB: Serve Ping Pong

By Anna Camara  Back in May, this year’s festival participants started to ask about the Fringe Club: Is it at Baltimore House again? No, it isn’t, because that location closed for renovations. Where is it? Where do we meet and relax? Well, this summer we meet and relax at Serve Ping Pong, which you could call a sports bar, but of a completely different kind. Five years ago, a group of four friends who grew up playing ping pong in each other’s basements were looking for a project to take on together. They all loved good food, friendly competition and downtown Hamilton. After bouncing around a few ideas, Mark Accardi, Adam Clermont, Kevin Huynh and Gianmarco Silano partnered up to open Serve Ping Pong Bar and Lounge. Right across from the Royal Connaught, they wanted to be part of the rejuvenation of King St. and Gore Park, and at the same time offer something new and fun to do downtown. The second-floor space is … huge. One thousand industrial-strength square feet on two levels offering bars, ping pong tables and exposed brick walls hung with enlarged black and white prints. Just about any famous person you can think of from the last century and this one is pictured playing ping pong, or table tennis, as it was once known. Yeah, Jimi Hendrix playing ping pong. It’s fun just to walk around and identify the players in those grainy photos. Serve is located at 107 King St. E., just a few doors east of one of the Fringe’s main venues, Mills Hardware, and not far from Theatre Aquarius. It is also a one-minute walk from the Lincoln Alexander Centre, where the official Kick-Off will take place on July 19. Guess where the Kick-Off After Party will happen? Serve Ping Pong! That’s only one of the planned events for this year’s Fringe Club. Before opening week, the Fringe will hold several seminars and training sessions, warming up the large rooms for the festivities to come. Here’s what’s coming up at Serve Ping Pong in only a few weeks: DATE TIME ACTIVITY Wed July 19 10pm Kick Off After-Party! Fri July 21 9pm Lip Sync Battles Sat July 22 8pm Ping Pong Competition Sun July 22 8pm Board Game Night Mon July 24 8pm Trivia Night Thu July 27 9pm Karaoke Cabaret Sat July 29 8pm Ping Pong Competition #2 Sun July 30 10pm Closing Night Party & Awards All you need is a 2017 Fringe Backer’s Button and Serve will serve up a great deal: discounted $5.00 beer on tap nightly and an hour of play for half price ($10) with a drink purchase. So join us for great food and company and groove on the fringe-friendly vibe at Serve Ping Pong. The Fringe Club opens at 4 p.m. each day during the Festival. Table tennis...

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