Hamilton Fringe Festival

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

Arts Education Initiative


Inspired by the overwhelming demand by local artists for accessible, professional training in the city, The Hamilton Fringe Festival is thrilled to announce the launch of a new two-tiered Arts Education Initiative.

The ALERT Program:
The Artistic Leadership and Entrepreneurial Training program for emerging or aspiring professionals aged 19 and over.

The SPARK Initiative:
An immersive, educational, arts development and creation program for youth (14-21 years) with an interest in the arts.


Please scroll down for specific information on each program. If you have any questions, please get in touch with us here: outreach@hamiltonfringe.ca


The ALERT Program
(Artistic Leadership and Entrepreneurial Training Program)

A year-long professional development program designed for emerging artistic leaders, 19 years and over who want to help redefine the theatre culture in Hamilton. 
Selected participants will work with top national theatre artists to develop their artistic and producing skills, attend a diverse range of cutting-edge performances throughout the region, access rehearsal space to develop their work, and help to envision a site-specific winter festival in 2016.


  • Emerging artists, 19 years and over with less than 5 years professional experience
  • Preference will be given to local, new generation artists (19-30 years)
  • Aspiring arts leaders who are provoked by the possibilities in Hamilton and want to gain the skills to bring their work to life


  • Monthly workshops with top national theatre artists that focus on both artistic innovation and producing skills
  • Instructors include Eda Holmes (Associate Director, Shaw Festival), Kim Collier (The Electric Company, Canadian Stage), Ravi Jain (Why Not Theatre), Lisa Marie DiLiberto (Fixt Point Theatre), Lorna Zaremba (General Manager, Theatre Aquarius), and more
  • Visioning sessions with other local artists for a Fringe winter festival
  • Free access to local rehearsal space
  • Group trips to influential productions in the 2015 season


  • The group will meet once per month from
    March 2015- February 2016

Applications for the 2015 ALERT Program are now closed. Please check back in the fall for details on the 2016 program.


The ALERT Program is made possible in part through
the support of the Hamilton Community Foundation.

Hamilton Community Foundation is Ontario’s first community foundation. In 2014-15 HCF is celebrating 60 years of driving positive change for Hamilton. Last year the Foundation granted $6.1 million in grants to registered charities across the community, and since it was founded has distributed more than $82 million to thousands of community programs.
To find out more visit: hamiltoncommunityfoundation.ca
or follow us on social media:
Facebook.com/HamCommFdn or @HamCommFdn.

Partnership with The Players Guild

Rehearsal space for the ALERT Program is made possible
through a partnership with the Players Guild of Hamilton Inc.

The SPARK Initiative

A creation and performance project for youth 14-21 years. SPARK will be an intensive program in July 2015. There will be an element of performance at the 2015 Hamilton Fringe!

  • Are you 14-21 years old?
  • Do you love to write/act/dance/sing/direct?
  • Are you eager to network with local professional artists?
  • Wondering how to get involved in your local theatre community?

This is the program for you!

Applications to the 2015 SPARK Initiative are now closed. Please check back in early 2016 for details on the 2016 program.


If you have any questions about The ALERT Program or The SPARK Initiative please get in touch with us here:



The SPARK Initiative is made possible through
the support of Dr. Valerie-Dawn Ruddell Girhiny.

A donation was made in memory of her late husband, The Right Reverend Dr. John Girhiny.

It is with delight that we report that the first year of the SPARK Initiative is made possible through the support of Dr. Valerie-Dawn Ruddell Girhiny, a former Board Member of the Hamilton Festival Theatre Company (the parent company of the Fringe)

The generous donation is dedicated to the memory of Valerie-Dawn’s late husband, The Right Reverend Dr. John Girhiny.

Dr. John Girhiny was a certified teacher and supervisory officer who taught at all levels of the educational continuum, including elementary, secondary, tertiary, and post-graduate. Throughout his life Msgr John was actively involved in theatre and supported many undertakings to involve youth in the world of the arts. He was a staunch supporter of the Hamilton Fringe and participated as a Community Reviewer for several years.

Support of the SPARK Initiative offers a fitting tribute and an enduring legacy.