Hamilton Fringe

A 12-day unjuried theatre festival that happens every summer in downtown Hamilton

Apply to the Festival




Image: promotional picture of "A Time of Future Tales" from the 2019 Hamilton Fringe Festival. Seen from above, three people lie in a circle, on a bed of debris and lights and musical instruments, with their heads nearly touching.

Above image: “A Time of Future Tales” from the 2019 Hamilton Fringe Festival. Photo credit: Eudes La Roche-Francoeur.


We’re back! The Hamilton Fringe Festival returns July 14 – 25, 2021, with shows happening live, online, indoors, and outdoors. Join us as we welcome back many of the lottery-winners from the cancelled 2020 Hamilton Fringe Festival, as well as a whole new cohort of great new companies to be chosen by lottery January 20, 2021. Please review the categories for 2021, new policies, and apply by clicking the link at the bottom of the page.

Hamilton’s biggest theatre festival takes place throughout the city over 12 days, with 50+ companies offering up musicals, dance, comedies, magic shows, dramas, family entertainment, and visual art — plus free and ticketed outdoor programming on our new outdoor stage at John & Rebecca Park. At the Hamilton Fringe Festival, there is truly something for everyone. Join us and make sure your show is part of the fun!


The Hamilton Fringe prioritizes the health, safety, and accessibility of our artists, audiences, staff, volunteers, and community partners. As such, our plans for the 2021 Hamilton Fringe Festival have taken all public health guidelines and government guidance into consideration. Our current preparations for the festival period reflect the best information we have going into the summer 2021 period, and are based on ongoing consultation with the Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals (CAFF).

Hamilton Fringe Festival live performances in all categories will adhere to all public health guidelines in place at the time of performance. Planned adjustments include extra time between performances to reduce traffic flow and allow for extra cleaning, indoor venues designed to accommodate social distancing, expanded opportunities for outdoor and/or online shows, and more.

Please note that if the Hamilton Fringe Festival is forced to cancel performances due to public health guidance or regulations, affected companies will receive a full refund of their participation fee.

Due to ongoing COVID-related travel restrictions and associated quarantine requirements, the Hamilton Fringe Festival is unable to accommodate in-person performances from companies based out-of-province. Please note that BILLETING IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR THE 2021 HAMILTON FRINGE FESTIVAL.


Main Lottery Categories

1. Ontario Regional 60 Minutes (7 spots)
2. Ontario Regional 90 Minutes (2 spots)

Other Lottery Categories

1. Skip the Glitches (6 spots)
2. Digital Exclusives (6 spots)
3. Family Fringe (45-60 minutes) (3 spots)
4. Mini-Series (20 minutes) (4 spots)
5. Bring Your Own Venue (BYOV) (Number of spots to be confirmed. Applications taken on a first-come-first-served basis or until March 1, 2021)
6. Visual Fringe (BYOV) (12 spots) (Applications open spring 2021.)


Application Fee of $25 + Participation Fee, if selected (see below)

60-minute slots: $650

90-minute slots: $750

Skip The Glitches slots: $350

Digital Exclusives slots: $350

Family Fringe slots: $550

Mini-Series slots: $350

BYOV: sliding scale based on total seating capacity (venue seating capacity x number of performances)

– 299 seats or less = $475

– 300-449 seats = $550

– 450+ seats = $650


December 8, 2020: 2021 Hamilton Fringe Festival lottery and BYOV applications open.

January 18, 2021: Applications for the 2021 Hamilton Fringe Festival Lottery close, all application fees due. (BYOV applications are first-come, first-served or until March 1, 2021).

January 20, 2021: The 2021 Hamilton Fringe Festival Lottery Party takes place live and online. (Venue to be confirmed.) Results are posted on hamiltonfringe.ca within 24 hours, participation fees due IMMEDIATELY for successfully drawn companies.

March 1, 2021: Deadline for the BYOV category. BYOV applications close on this date or when all slots are filled, whichever comes first. You must contact Hamilton Fringe before submitting your BYOV application.

Spring 2021 (TBD): Deadline for applications to Visual Fringe

Spring 2021 (TBD): Visual Fringe Lottery draw

July 14-25, 2021: 2021 Hamilton Fringe Festival, performances begin on July 15th.


  1. Only one application per company is allowed.
  2. The Company Name, Primary Contact, and Secondary Contact cannot be changed once submitted.
  3. The Primary and Secondary contacts of a company cannot be the Primary and/or Secondary contacts for a second company.
  4. If an individual/company submits more than one application, ALL relevant applications will be removed from the lottery, and no refund will be given for the lottery application fee.
  5. If the Primary Contact cannot continue with a production, we reserve the right to withdraw it from the festival.
  6. Companies are not allowed to sell or transfer their spot to another company. If we find that they have, both companies will be removed from the festival and will forfeit 100% of their fees.
  7. Application fees are non-refundable. Contact [email protected] with any questions BEFORE submitting your application. BYOV-related questions should be directed to [email protected] in advance of submitting an application.


The Hamilton Fringe Festival is non-juried and holds a lottery to program the festival by selecting shows at random in a draw. This draw takes place in mid-December annually. Due to the extra planning involved in planning next year’s festival, the 2021 draw has been pushed forward by one month. As a member of the Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals, the Hamilton Fringe Festival does not evaluate the artistic merit of applicants, or the viability of the work—all applicants have the same chance of earning a show spot as the rest of their category. The Hamilton Fringe offers multiple lottery categories to apply to, based on the permanent residence of the applicant and duration of show, age demographic of audience, or targeted performance genre.

MAIN Lottery

Main Lottery categories this year include Ontario Regional (60 Minutes) & Ontario Regional (90 Minutes). Seven lottery spots are available for Ontario Regional (60) and two lottery spots are available for Ontario Regional (90). These categories represent our flagship performance series. Shows presented in these categories are programmed in one of our four live indoor theatre venues. Each venue is equipped with theatrical lighting and sound equipment, with a venue capacity of at least 50. (NB: If public health guidelines in place at the time of the Hamilton Fringe Festival dictate that fewer than 50 people are permitted in any venue associated with these categories, the Hamilton Fringe will reduce the application fees of affected companies on a pro-rata basis.) These categories are open to Ontario-based companies.


Six lottery spots available. Back by popular demand, Hamilton Fringe Festival’s theatrical curbside delivery series returns in 2021. Audiences order a 20-minute performance right to their home. Got a portable show? Get in on the series that had Hamilton buzzing last summer! Successful Skip The Glitches applicants are each given five shows per day over two dedicated days of the festival––a total of 10 performances per company. Shows will be performed outside the homes of ticket buyers. There will be a minimum price of $80 for up to 8 audience members to book a theatre delivery, with an incremental $12 regular ticket price per additional audience member. An on-site technical director will assist with route planning, assessing electricity and performance-area needs at each home, tech operation, and the set-up and tear-down of the Hamilton Fringe’s minimal mobile light and sound equipment. This is rough-and-tumble theatre––shows should be quick to set up, quick to tear down, and planned to happen rain or shine. This category is open to Ontario-based companies.


Six lottery spots available. Digital Exclusives is our new series of online-only performances. Companies will get the opportunity to reach a global audience with a PRE-RECORDED video work of 40 minutes or less. You can show off a past performance, premiere a short film, or create a brand new form of theatre. Digital Exclusives shows will be made available on-demand through the Hamilton Fringe Festival’s dedicated digital streaming platform, with ticket sales handled through our digital ticketing system. Tickets will be priced using a tiered “pay-what-you-can-afford” model––$5 (Accessible), $12 (Regular), and $20 (Support The Artist). This category is open to international, national, and Ontario-based companies.


Three lottery spots available. Be among the first companies to break in our new outdoor stage at the rebooted Fringe Club at John and Rebecca Park! Three family-friendly productions will be drawn in the Family Fringe series lottery. This is your chance to perform to audiences of all ages, in the heart of downtown Hamilton. Family Fringe shows must have a running time of 45-60 minutes. Each company will be scheduled for seven performances, with a variety of performance times between 9:30am and 5:00pm weekdays and weekends. The primary audience for Family Fringe shows is 12 and under. In addition to regular ticket prices for official seating, extended on-the-lawn seating will be available to walk-ups on a pay-what-you-can basis. Group bookings will be organized by Hamilton Fringe with local daycares and summer programs. This category is open to Ontario-based companies.


Four lottery spots available. Do you like your theatre short and sweet? Then the Mini-Series is for you! With performances of 20 minutes or less, this is a great opportunity to show off a shorter work to a more intimate audience. Six companies will be scheduled for seven performances between Thursday and Saturday, both weekends of the Fringe Festival. The Mini-Series shows are set in a small non-traditional performance space (venue TBC). Shows must have NO or LOW technical and/or production requirements. There is no technician assigned to this venue during the run of the festival. If there are technical elements to your production, they must be provided and operated by a member (or members) of your company. This category is open to Ontario-based companies.

BYOV Category

A BYOV (Bring Your Own Venue) is a venue or location not included in the list of Fringe main venues. If you were not drawn in the Fringe lottery, or if your performance is better suited for an unconventional space, a BYOV might be the right fit for you.

Each venue must have at least two BYOV companies attached — at least two applications from each venue must be submitted before the Hamilton Fringe can approve the overall application. If multiple Box Office locations are required at a single venue, each Box Office location will be considered a separate venue, with each box office location requiring a minimum of 2 applicants.

Applications are due March 1, 2021 or once all slots have been filled, whichever comes first. BYOV applicants are asked to get in touch with the Fringe in advance of submitting your proposal: [email protected] This category is open to Ontario-based companies.


12 visual artists will be chosen via lottery to present a piece of work at a partner gallery and/or for  display at the outdoor Fringe Club during the 2021 festival. These applications are not submitted through Eventotron, but through another online portal.

Applications to the Visual Fringe are due: Spring 2021 (TBD)

The draw will be live-streamed a few days after the application close date, Spring 2020 (TBD).


  1. Go to Eventotron.com. If you have applied to the festival before, log in using the same email and password. If you have never applied through Eventotron before, enter your email under ‘New User’ and hit ‘Register.’ You will be sent an email with further instructions on how to log in.
  2. After logging in, click ‘Festivals’ at the top left-hand corner of the screen. Scroll through the list of festivals until you find ‘Hamilton Fringe Festival 2021.’ Click on ‘Apply’ to be taken to the application.
  3. If you have not applied through Eventotron before, select ‘I’m creating a new event’ and follow the directions on the screen.
  4. Please note: questions in red text are required questions, you will not be able to submit your application if there is any red text still appearing in your form. You must click NO to any lottery category that does not apply.
  5. After being taken to the Application form, fill in all the information. Please ensure you download and read your festival agreement thoroughly before applying. Application Fees must be received within 10 days of online application submission or on January 18, 2021, whichever comes first.


Due to the cancellation of last year’s Hamilton Fringe Festival, successful applicants were given the opportunity to defer their participation to this year’s festival. Therefore there are fewer open slots this year in each category, and certain categories that have already been filled to capacity by companies who chose to defer. 2021 categories already filled by deferred 2020 companies include Site-Specific, Hamilton Local, New Play Contest, BIPOC Artist, Disability Justice, and the new LIVE + Theatre On Demand series.

Click here to view all open lottery categories and deferred companies participating in the 2021 Hamilton Fringe Festival.