Hamilton Fringe

Now in its 18th season, the Hamilton Fringe creates a platform for independent, emerging, and established theatre artists in Hamilton.

ALERT: Arts Education Initiative

The ALERT Program  (Artistic Leadership and Entrepreneurial Training Program)


A professional development program designed for emerging artistic leaders 18 years and over who want to help redefine the theatre culture in Hamilton. Selected participants work with theatre artists and mentors to develop their artistic or artistic producing skills, contribute to the production of the winter festival – Frost Bites, participate in a professional placement, and attend/access a diverse range of cutting-edge performances throughout the region. 

Please note: ALERT runs from September 2021 to April 2022. Participants commit to approximately 75 hours over the 8 months, with an average of 10 hours/month. There is a modest honorarium provided to each participant upon completion of the program.


In 2021/22, the ALERT program moves to a 2-year structure. Based on feedback from past cohorts, the program now consists of a Production Stream and an Artistic Stream, offered in alternate years. Participants can enter the program in Year 1 or Year 2 and may apply for a single year or return to apply to the alternate stream the following year. Past ALERT program graduates may also re-apply to the program in its new format.

The 2021/22 program will be the Production Stream and will focus on building producing skills in emerging artistic leaders. This year participants will:

  • Take part in professional development workshops (including Scheduling, Budgeting, Fundraising, Marketing, Grant Writing, etc), 
  • Participate in a Community Engaged Arts Practice Intensive in partnership with Jumblies Theatre,
  • Contribute to the visioning for the annual PD Day and Monologue Slam,
  • Receive professional placements with Fringe or other community arts partners from the region, 
  • Contribute to the development of a new critical path for the winter festival Frost Bites, which also switches to a 2-year format in 2022, 
  • Connect with a professional mentor to assist with networking and career development.

Due to the impact of COVID-19, we anticipate that there will be a hybrid format to the program this year. Some ALERT sessions will take place virtually and in-person sessions will be scheduled when provincial health restrictions permit. We understand that there are a variety of risk-comfort levels for each person and we are committed to working with all prospective applicants to ensure the program works for you.


  • Emerging artists 18 years and over with less than 5 years professional experience
  • Preference will be given to local, new generation artists (19-30 years) but artists of all ages who are new-in-craft are welcome to apply
  • Aspiring arts leaders and theatre creators who are energized by the possibilities in Hamilton and want to gain the skills to bring their work to life

Applications can also be completed over the phone. Please call 289-698-2234.

Submission deadline: September 17, 2021

Apply now! Click the button below or copy and paste the following link into your browser: https://bit.ly/ALERT2021-22


THE 2020-2021 ALERT TEAM

Born and bred in her favourite city Hamilton, Carly Anna Billings is a mixed queer second generation Italian-Canadian Annishinabek performer. She is grateful for and owes everything to the first peoples of this land acknowledged and unacknowledged, recorded and unrecorded. Carly holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Theatre (Acting) from the University of Ottawa and has been fortunate enough to begin her career on various stages from Hamilton to Charlottetown and back again. An actor, singer, mover, creator, writer and storyteller, she is passionate about the power of people, language and theatre and their abilities and challenges in bringing us all together.


Sophie Hughes is an emerging artist from Ancaster, Ontario. Sophie is a first-year student at the University of Guelph, in the Bachelor of Arts Honours program. Her major is in Theatre Studies and she also plans to minor in both History and Arts Management. Sophie’s primary area of artistic practice is acting, and she has an interest in producing, stage managing, and marketing. She has taken part in fifteen musical theatre productions, holding roles both on and off stage. This year, Sophie was awarded the Theatre Ancaster Drama Award, recognizing her contributions to Arts programming in her high school and community. She has also been involved with Hamilton’s Curtain Call Performing Arts Company and Connect Theatre Project. Acting credits include Mamma Mia, Cabaret, and Big Fish. Sophie is ecstatic to be a part of this year’s ALERT team!
Manisha Maharajh is an actor and singer who lives in Hamilton. She is currently in her first year of her Master of Education in Adult Education and Community Development at the University of Toronto. She has a particular interest in exploring how the arts can be used to develop and create connections within the community. Her most recent theatre credits include NOW (2020), a digital devised theatre piece in the Hamilton Fringe, and Theatre Ancaster’s production of Mamma Mia! (2019). Manisha is excited and grateful to start creating theatre with the ALERT team! 
Mykola Paskaruk is a designer and performer, fresh and out of McMaster University. Their artistic background is largely in musical performance, but their more current pursuits have extended to theatre. In pursuing their interest in the tactile and the visceral, they have been immersed in not only the performative, but also the creative and tech sides of theatre in both Hamilton and Toronto. They are now looking to sustain this approach through the digital age, and from a safe distance. Their recent credits include: OMyth (2020), their thesis; Bad Ideas (2019), at the Hamilton Fringe; and Re:mind (2019), McMaster HPS.
Olivia ‘Margo’ Prunean is a Hamilton based actor who has worked on various local stages in productions ranging from Shakespeare and musical theatre to independent and Hamilton Fringe offerings. She oversaw five seasons of HUTA’s Shakespeare Summer Camp and hopes to contribute to the creation of similar programs that engage with Hamilton’s future artists and give back to the community. Olivia is also a playwright and had widened her theatrical experience through producing, directing, set dressing, and construction. She is passionate about furthering her arts education and is optimistic about living a life full of theatre.
Kit Simmons (she/her) is an actor, creator, writer, part-time technician, and educator. Her work explores ambition, shame, and personal problems experienced publicly. Her identity as a queer woman influences the politic of her work, and her training has ranged from classical voice work to ballet to clown – a cross-disciplinary approach is at the heart of all of her work.. Recent theatre credits: Conversations Around the Table (OpenHeartArts), Babel-o-Drome (collectifbus123/Element Choir), Moving Parts Choir (Fujiwara Dance Projects), The Infinity Machine (Humber Theatre/Sharon B. Moore), seeds (Impetus Theatrel), Out of the Shadows (Paprika Festival).


2019-2020 Participants: 

Nathalie Cortes, Olivia Hopen, Matthew Lazaris-Brunner, Micaela Morales, Rachel Offer, Ryan Percival

2018-2019 Participants: 

Luis Arrojo, Beekaa Abraham, Aaron Joel Craig, Khaleel Gandhi, Rebekka Gondosch, Victoria Hudson-Muir, Anthony Raymond Yu, Dylan Vandemaele

2017-2018 Participants: 

Krista Colosimo, Michael Kras, Lily Sutherland, Emma Grafham, Stephanie Hope Lawlor, Jamie Milay

2016-2017 Participants: 

Adam Lemieux, Adam Bryan, Carlyn Rhamey, Claudia Spadafora, Rose Hopkins, Jesse Horvath


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