Archives: Hamilton Fringe Festival

all the festivals

In the next week there are so many great festivals happening in and around the city. I want to go to all of them.

Here are a few of the must see and do’s if you’re sticking around Hamilton.


Hamilton World Music Festival

In its third year and back by popular demand the Hamilton World Music Festival is here this weekend!




Boasting past musical guests like Polaris Prize and Juno Award winner Inuk throat singer Tanya Tagaq, this year’s line-up features an excellent roster of International artists like Sérgio Pererê (from Brazil), and Zal Sissokho (from Senegal). Hamilton favourites like Mother Tareka (9-piece hip-hop funk band), Neeraj Prem (sitar), the Riddim Riders (reggae band), Bonnie Hamilton, and The Snow Beach Players (featuring #HamOnt mashup of local live hip-hop bands Canadian Winter, Haolin Munk & Kojo ‘Easy’ Damptey Band).

A song by Alysha Brilla, who’s song 2 Shots, I first heard on CBC Radio a while back. The chorus would get stuck in my head for days. She’s performing Saturday 8:30-9:30pm.

*Hamilton World Music Festival, July 15-17, Admission is Free, Gage Park, @matapaorg, Facebook


Strangewaves Music Festival

Strangewaves is a three-day festival in its second year for music, art, and film lovers alike.

The festival this year is at the Paris Fairgrounds, where you can camp all weekend and check out another amazing line-up of Hamilton musical musical outfits like: Simply Saucer (Proto Punk ), Thoughts on Air (soulscape), Goatfooted (dank ambience back from the grave), Zac Shaw (sax king), plus all sorts of indie acts hailing from LA to NYC, PLUS one of my ultimate faves Julie Doiron (OMG!), and DJ Rasta Princess (Montreal -reggae, reggae, reggae) -eeeep! Sounds like it’s going to be a fun little festival. AND, surprise guest yet to be announced for Saturday night -who could it be!?

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Tickets are available here, or at The Brain (199 James Street North, Hamilton).

*Strangewaves Music Festival, July 15-17, Paris Fairgrounds, @strangewavesfes, Facebook


Fringe Festival

The Hamilton Fringe Festival is celebrating its 13th year (#turning13)!

This year there are more than 48 theatre companies bringing to Hamilton a variety of comedy, drama, magic, dance, and family friendly entertainment in more than 300 performances over 11 days.

The amount of theatre that will be at our finger-tips during the next week is daunting (yet also awesome!).

If I had to pick just a handful of plays to see, these would be them:


El Diablo of the Cards (comedy): Be SURPRISED in the most HILARIOUS way! “El Diablo of the Cards” comes all the way from Brazil to bring you an UNFORGETTABLE night! Take your seat and get ready to laugh! Ewerton Martins will astound with his unbelievable improvised card magic. Really unreal, provocatively absurd, this delightful idiot will introduce you to the madness of card’s magic.



All KIDding Aside (comedy): Time is running out, a life altering decision teeters before you…and you’re on the fence! Sometimes the biggest fears can be the “little ones”




Key-Promo-Image-KairosThe Bathtub Girls (drama, physical theatre): The Bathtub Girls is an original play based on the first known case of sibling matricide in Canada, occurring in 2003, Mississauga, ON. The work has strong roots in contact improvisation and examines the desire for a sense of community and identity, and the actions taken for their acquisition.




Awoken (drama, sci fi): Meet Todd. Todd can’t sleep. But Todd is dreaming. Neither awake nor asleep, Todd must journey through his own corrupted subconscious – idle fantasies and suppressed memories – and discover his purpose, before choosing to wake up…or sleep forever. Inspired by a true story. All lighting controlled by the sole actor on stage.



Devil-in-the-DetailsDevil in the Details (comedy): Laura, after a freak photocopier accident, finds herself dead and the executive assistant to Satan himself. As she navigates her new boss and the inner workings of the seven circles, she finds that not everything is as it seems. Hell is losing souls, influence and power but no one knows why… Welcome to Hell.



*Hamilton Fringe Festival, July 14-24, @HamOntFringe, Facebook, #HamFringe


I will be updating my Facebook page regularly with various events going on in the city. Take a look at my event page for some great things coming up like Dusk Dances (Bayfront Park), Life of a Craphead: Bugs/ Zak Tatham: Doorcuts (summer film screening series at Hamilton Artist’s Inc.), and A Night in White (at Whitehern hosted by the Other Bird Chef Matt Kershaw) just to name a few. 

hamilton fringe

Six summers ago when we first moved to Hamilton I attended my first Hamilton Fringe Festival. The show we saw was performed in what was then the vast and vacant second floor of Jackson Square (which McMaster University has now taken over). In the middle of that warehouse sized emptiness black curtains were draped and a stage was set up with seating for a modest audience. The festival was smaller then.

That was six years ago (half of the Fringe Festival’s 12 year life) and since then, my has it grown!

Admittedly I have not attended many shows in recent years. What with babies and kids it can be hard to steal away for a series of evenings and afternoons to check out the roster of amazing theatre that the Fringe has to offer.

Last summer I did make it out for one show: Love With Leila, which I adored (see that post here). And this summer there is a line-up of shows I would definitely check-out if I wasn’t knee deep into trying to balance life (and survival) with what is now two kids.

She Said Saffron is a one-woman play by Lisa Pijuan-Nomura. There is a never a dull moment with Lisa. She has her finger on the pulse of all things creative in Hamilton and is always doing something: dance, art, theatre, story telling, and making me laugh. Last spring I saw her debut Hamilton performance in her show Small, Sweet and Quiet. It detailed intimate, honest, and sweet moments in her life and her move from Toronto to Hamilton; all accompanied by interludes of mini historic Hamilton narratives depicted through a beautifully artistic shadow puppet show.

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This time around She Said Saffron touches on all my favourite Fs:  Food, Family and First loves. A story told through dance, words and Lisa’s life experience. You’ll be sure to leave with hearts full, a smile on your face, and a satiating desire to eat paella.

*She Said Saffron at The Players Guild, Th. 8:30, F. 7, Sat 3:30+8:30, $10, @GirlCanCreate

My life is such that it is not every day that I meet a playwright, so when I met Hamilton playwright Radha S. Menon I was in awe. Radha; a woman of smarts, spunk, and imagination has written such plays as: The Washing Machine, Ganga’s Ganjawas, Rise of the Prickly Pear, and Rukmini’s Gold. She was the finalist for the Woodward/Newman International Playwriting Prize and not to mention she founded the Hamilton production company Red Betty Theatre.


Rukimini’s Gold is Radha’s exploration of her family’s journey from India and around the world:

It was midnight when I stood alone waiting for a night train at a deserted station in North Cornwall.

There was no sign of life anywhere, it was eerie and desolate and I worried that my train may never come. That’s when I had a vision of Rukmini, an elderly lady waiting alone in her white sari, clutching nothing but her precious baggage. And I wondered what it would be like to meet oneself in a place like this? Would I recognise myself after fifty or more years?

Rukmini’s Gold won the  2015 Toronto Fringe New Play Contest and is a must see for this year’s Hamilton Fringe!

*Rukmini’s Gold, Mills Hardware, M 7:30, W 6, Sat 2, Sun 6, $10, @RedBettyTheatre

Bottom line is if I were to steal away from the duties of newborn parental duties I would most certainly take an hour or two to attend both of these shows. So proud and happy to have these two amazing women here in Hamilton -congrats on both of your shows!

*Hamilton Fringe Festival, #HamFringe, @HamOntFringe, Facebook


a very leila christmas

On the last day of 2014′s Hamilton Fringe Festival I saw my first Fringe show of the year.

There were definitely more Fringe shows that I wanted to check out, but in all if I were to only see just one play, I was happy as ever that I did not miss the opportunity to see this one-person-show written and starring the very talented Izad Etemadi titled Love with Leila.

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It was just about the sweetest, most heart warming, laugh out loud kind of play that re-injected some theatre love and enthusiasm back into my recently theatre deprived life.

Izad Etemadi takes on the persona of Leila: a loveable and young Persian woman who tells us of her humorous misadventures in dating that lead her discovery of a heartfelt lesson in love and self-reflection.

It was clear by the raucous standing ovation at the end of the night we had all truly fallen head over heels in love Leila. There was no way that we couldn’t love her innocent humour, witty banter and Persian pleasantries. We were left with the promise of more Leila and the return of Etemadi to Hamilton with Leila in another one-person production titled A Very Leila Christmas.

a very leila christmas

“MERRY CHRISTMAS, LEILA” That’s what Leila expects to hear from Santa on her first Christmas morning in Canada, surrounded by perfectly wrapped presents tucked all around her tree but to her shock and confusion, her stocking is empty and there are no presents at all – not even coal! Leila decides to track down Santa to find out what went wrong. Travel to the North Pole with Leila, singing all your favourite Christmas songs along the way, to help her discover the true meaning of Christmas.

A Very Leila Christmas is playing this week at the Staircase Theatre December 17, 18 and 19. I couldn’t think of a better way to kick off the holiday season than supporting some theatre while checking out what sorts of hilarious and outrageous misadventures Leila will get up to on her very first Canadian Christmas.

Tickets are $15 and you can get them here:

See you at the show!

*Staircase Theatre, 27 Dundurn St. North, 905.529.3000


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