Hamilton Fringe Festival

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

The Fringe Blog!

The Show Must Go On!

The Show Must Go On!

Theatre can sometimes be a challenging profession. As it is a LIVE experience – it sometimes means that people go on stage while dealing with all of the ‘slings and arrows’ that life throws at a person. It demands that a person go on stage while sick or caring for ailing loved ones or dealing with personal tragedies or health challenges. But theatre is also a deeply human profession. And sometimes the show cannot go on…as planned. In these cases, the theatre community can often be found rising up to support one of its members. This year, the winner of the New Play Contest was a thoughtful, funny, tender, moving work called Superman and Skinny Dan and Bird Boy. The jury was unanimous in their support of this work, which featured the thrillingly original new voice of Hamilton-based playwright Rex Emerson Jackson. Rex approached us recently with some concerns about presenting the work this year – while at the same time ensuring us that he wanted to see the work on stage, if possible. So we reached out to the community and found 5 incredible local performers who volunteered to step into the theatre each night and give voice to Rex’s play. Below you will find a list of the featured performers. Each of them is reading the play and donating the box office proceeds back to Rex. Come see the play a few times to catch different actors interpreting the piece! There have been no rehearsals, no tech, no direction. Just gifted actors reading a great script. This is the joy of theatre. We hope you can come and be a part of it too! Friday July 20 @ 7pm – Shaun Smyth Saturday July 21 @ 1pm – Mike Rinaldi Monday July 23 @ 7:30pm – Mike Rinaldi Tuesday July 24 @ 6:30pm – Rick Roberts Friday July 27 @ 9:30pm – Sonny Mills Saturday July 28 @ 5pm – Sonny Mills Sunday July 29 @ 12pm – Christopher Stanton Rex wanted to share his thoughts on this experience. He wrote a letter and we are pleased to share that with you: When I wrote Superman and Skinny Dan and Bird Boy, I wanted to explore lives that don’t often get portrayed on stage. There has been so much backlash in the media against actors of privilege playing roles meant for marginalized communities, and my dream for Bird Boy was to tell the story of disability from the inside. Jeremy, also known as Bird Boy, is autistic. So am I. I used a lot of me while creating him. Theatre was something I fell into naturally. Stick me in the middle of a party and I’ll probably lock myself in the bathroom. Put on the spot, I don’t know what to say. But hand me a script and put me on stage and I feel more at home there than in the actual world. In the past few years I have been trying to build a life in theatre for myself, but I can feel the barriers that exist. Networking is a nightmare for me. Parties are not my thing. Even forming a theatre company – just a couple of people with a mutual vision – for some reason is very difficult for me to figure out....

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Staff Picks of Fringe: Single and Alone

Staff Picks of Fringe: Single and Alone

We return to the popular blog series we launched in 2017 wherein our summer staff members offer up curated lists of Fringe shows under a chosen theme. With so much on offer, these lists give you one way to help you navigate the Fringe this summer! Each list features six shows, meaning you can catch them all with a single Fringe Binge Pass. The first in our series is Fringe Binge: Single and Alone, with selections from Gina, our Fringe Club Assistant.   Do you want to see a Fringe show? Are you single and don’t have a partner to go to the theatre with? Do your friends think going to see shows is boring? Will you be forced to go alone? If you answered yes to any of these questions, we have the answer for you! Check out these six shows that are fun for even if you’re going alone and can help pinch that romance nerve in your body! Love, Loss and What I Wore Love? Please, I’m single. Why Am I Single?  Good question. It’s a mystery to me. Dating Myself #yolo HEATWAVE A story about people questioning their relationship. Been there. B!tch Island-The Musical  “Riots! Romance! Revenge!” Sounds like my last relationship. THE COCKWHISPERER – A LOVE STORY “One woman’s quest to find love and the penis of her dreams.” Sounds like me. Gina Montani is a local performer and theatre enthusiast. She completed the ArtSMART program through HWDSB in 2016 and can often be seen on stage at Binbrook Little Theatre. She loves the Hamilton art scene and is the Hamilton Youth Poets Louder than a Bomb Canada city champion of 2017. Gina was her class valedictorian in June and is the recipient of several performing arts awards including the Bette Norton Music and Performance Award and Sarah Farmer Award for Best Dramatic Performance. Gina is known for the performance of The Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz in which she got permanent frostbite due to a special effect malfunction, but is best known for her performance of Melody in Binbrook Little Theatre’s Bedtime Stories where she played a 19-year-old rock-fan pursuing a 53-year-old rockstar....

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An Offering: Let’s take more risks in theatre

An Offering: Let’s take more risks in theatre

an offering: let’s take more risks in Hamilton theatre At the beginning of June of this year, a group of Hamilton theatre makers formed a long table to discuss a severe issue that plagues theatre and performance in North American communities. This being the prevalence and dominance of white, male, cis-gendered, able bodied voices in theatre – on stage, off stage, on boards, in positions of influence, and so on. In attempting to navigate such a complex topic through discourse, with most parties trying in earnest to offer some kind of actionable solution, one thing that seemed to loom over the conversation as a potential barrier was the fear of failure and the lack of risk-taking in the theatre we see and make. We often talk of the pressures we face when endeavouring to produce a staged work: failing to secure adequate funding, the likelihood of not reaching a large enough audience or getting enough bums in seats, the anxiety of having to create something of “good” quality – the list goes on. These pressures have persuaded many theatre makers and theatre institutions to stick with old practices that have “worked” in the past while taking few risks and, consciously or otherwise, preventing the evolution of theatre as we know it. This behaviour has left artists and audiences alike to wade through a bombardment of semi-polished works that all look and sound the same and who gets left out? Women, POCs, Aboriginal voices, disabled folx, and LGBTQ+. Not only are these communities excluded at all levels of the production and creative processes, but the work itself suffers too. what does “risky” theatre look like?             Back in April, I was fortunate to catch a performance of Tell Me What It’s Called produced by Tell Me Theatre through Why Not Theatre’s RISER project at The Theatre Centre in Toronto. Directed by Ximena Huizi, this piece separated itself from most staged works while simultaneously seeming to scream “THEATRE!” as the cast of eight playfully delivered improvised drama games/exercises, song and movement pieces, and shared laughs with the audience while playing a theatrical version of “Marco Polo” with Huizi and the eight performers’ voices equally communicated and expressed. In essence, the audience had the rare opportunity to watch a rehearsal, changing and evolving from night to night; it was an incredibly well guided and fleshed out rehearsal mind you, but it was very much unlike the polished, “perfectly” assembled fare we see every other night on stage. It was…fun. It was confusing. It was liberating. It was ambitious and it was NOT the final product. Tell Me What It’s Called was an experiment, a workshop, a piece of art that wasn’t concerned with success as we know it in the theatre world. I left the theatre lamenting the fact that work like that would barely make a blip on people’s radars in Hamilton. I left the theatre hungry to see our community evolve by putting diverse voices in more positions of influence. Theatre is just a word – we can decide what it looks like. Just an offering. Jesse Horvath is a graduate of McMaster’s Theatre and Film Studies program currently working as an actor/theatre artist in Hamilton. His theatre credits are primarily on the stage but he has found a rich community in Hamilton that has allowed him to...

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ALERT Spotlight: Lily Sutherland

ALERT Spotlight: Lily Sutherland

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. Lily Sutherland takes on the job of Fundraising Co-ordinator for the Frost Bites Festival. LILY SUTHERLAND Lily holds a degree in Theatre Studies , with special focus in the Acting Profile, from University of Ottawa. During her studies, she acted in various productions and served as a Producer of the Youth Infringement Festival, a festival which provides opportunities for emerging artists ages 16-25 to write, produce and act in original work. Currently, she produces for Toronto-based theatre company, Passing Through Theatre, which she co-founded in 2014. She has created, produced and performed in two original productions and toured to four cities on the Canadian Fringe circuit with Passing Through Theatre. She also develops and facilities workshops in improv and clown for high school students and in her spare time, volunteers for educational arts and drama programs which cater to adults with special needs.  What excites you about the ALERT program? What drew you to it? I’m excited to be a part of creating new and exciting site-specific work in Hamilton, while meeting and learning from creative people and contributing to the community.  What are you looking forward to at Frost Bites? I can’t wait to see how the festival comes together as a whole! So much imagination, planning and creativity has gone into this process so far, and I just know its going to be an incredible event.  Why do you love Hamilton? Hamilton has such a vibrant and supportive arts community! I am still relatively new here and I am constantly surprised and delighted by the varied and unique arts and cultural events this city has to offer. What are your favourite spots in Hamilton? Finding exotic and fresh ingredients at stores like Denninger’s and Starskys makes trying out new recipes a lot of fun! For more information about the ALERT Program and its participants, click...

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ALERT Spotlight: Jamie Milay Kasiama

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 Frost Bites? 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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