Hamilton Fringe Festival

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

Gallery shows that GREW

Posted by on Jun 22, 2015

Two of the full-length shows programmed at the Hamilton Fringe Festival this year premiered as short pieces in the Gallery mini-Series:

Trevor Copp’s Air appeared at the 2014 Fringe and Radha Menon’s Ghost Train Riders (which has now been developed into the full-length Rukmini’s Goldwas a part of the 2013 festival.

We spoke to playwright/creators Radha and Trevor about what role the shorter presentations at the Gallery mini-Series played in their development and how their shows have grown since!


How has your show changed since it was in the Gallery mini-Series?

Rukmini's Gold

TREVOR:  Back then, I didn’t know what I had. I was throwing stuff against the wall to see what would stick. I since stepped back to ask what it was I am trying to accomplish, to bring intelligence (and work and design and more rehearsal….) to what was instinct.

Now the piece incorporates full design, is double the length, and reflects the fact that I know I’ve found a voice in this work.

RADHA:   Thanks to an OAC grant, I was able to develop the initial scene Ghost Train Riders into a full-length play over four-months that summer and have a staged reading in December 2013 at the Lyric Theatre. In development with Kali Theatre (U.K), the play was then workshopped by six actors in London led by director Trilby James in July 2014 and these explorations provided real breakthroughs. Readers’ notes were provided and a new draft was written and had a staged reading at Tristan Bates Theatre in Covent Garden as part of Kali Theatre Talkback 2015. It started off as a 20 minute show and has grown to 100 minutes (we are cutting a scene to keep within the 90 minute show slot for the Fringe.)


What is the value of having an audience while your show is still “young”?

RADHA:   I fall in love with many of my characters and as with other things one loves, one hope that others will love them too. Having audiences see seed plays really helps because it gives a writer the certainty that this story and these characters are worth the time spent developing them. I was blown away by the audience response from Ghost Train Riders at our Gallery Series show – it struck a chord with so many people, mostly everyone was able to relate to this play and all the positive feedback reassured me that this certainly should be a full-length play.

TREVOR:   In physical theatre especially, the audience is the final scene partner. Until they show up, I really don’t know if we’re together and really in flow. I got to find out what worked and where the holes are. I actually got out to Ottawa and St. Catherine’s as well to keep testing the material. I wouldn’t call this process ‘valuable’ – for my kind of work, it’s a requirement to achieve the kind of quality that makes a show last years.


The Gallery mini-Series is billed as SHORT shows in SMALL spaces. When did you know that your SHORT show would grow larger and your SMALL space would need to be bigger?


TREVOR:   The combination of people asking if I’d do the old pieces again and the new pieces keeping me up at night because they didn’t exist yet.

RADHA:  I had already planned to develop the play but this testing ground was a great assurance that this was a good move.


Why should people come to see your show again?Air poster

RADHA:    Like its story that crosses continents Rukmini’s Gold has already travelled from Hamilton to London (England) and back in its quest for development. This homegrown Hamilton play won Toronto Fringe New Play Contest and is being produced by an amazing team of artists that will take you on a journey of huge proportions. Don’t miss it!

TREVOR:  The people who saw it last year are in it – they spoke to me, they pushed it, they made it grow. It belongs to them, too. This is Air 2.0 now – and if they liked it last year, they ain’t seen nothing yet.




Rukmini’s Gold (Red Betty Theatre) plays at Mills Hardware:

Show Times:
Thu, July 16 9:00pm
Sat, July 18 7:30pm
Sun, July 19 3:30pm
Mon, July 20 7:30pm
Wed, July 22 6:00pm
Sat, July 25 2:00pm
Sun, July 26 6:00pm

Air (Tottering Biped Theatre) is at the Players Guild:

Show Times:
Thur, July 16 8:30pm
Fri, July 17 7pm
Sat, July 18 3:30pm & 8:30pm
Sun, July 19 2pm
Thur, July 23 7pm
Fri, July 24 8:30pm
Sat, July 25 2pm & 7pm