The Hamilton Fringe announced yesterday that Frost Bites 2020, Hamilton’s only site-specific winter performance festival, will take place at the Hamilton Waterfront Trust Centre from January 30th to February 2nd, 2020.

Now in its fifth year, Frost Bites continues to grow while activating a different neighbourhood and an unusual performance space in Hamilton each year.

The Hamilton Waterfront Trust Centre is located at 57 Discovery Drive along the edge of Hamilton Harbour (at the very end of James Street North). The building was opened in 2004 as the Canada Marine Discovery Centre. It closed in 2010 and in 2012 upscale restaurant Sarcoa moved in. The federal government transferred ownership to the City of Hamilton in 2015. Sarcoa closed in 2017 and launched a $15-million lawsuit against the city and the Hamilton Waterfront Trust, which operated the site until 2018. The lawsuit was settled this past August. The building has sat largely unoccupied for the past few years and its future is still in question.

A line-up of seven emerging and established companies will be creating short, unconventional performance pieces inspired by spaces at the HWT Centre for Frost Bites 2020. Audiences will be able to experience the building from all angles – even watching performances through the expansive 30 foot windows, both from the warmth of the interior Hub, and looking in from the chilly outdoors.

No performance is longer than 20 minutes, and each show plays multiple times a night. A single ticket grants entry into as many performances as an audience member can manage in an evening. The Frequent Frost Pass lets the holder return on any or each night of the festival.

The line-up of artists features a diverse array of artistic disciplines and levels of experience, whose offerings will be equally distinct, including:

  • Chasing Shadows Productions (2019 Hamilton Fringe Audience Choice Award Winners) whose offering Elevator Pitch promises a supernatural comedy with the audience in close quarters.
  • Local emerging artist collective, DeVision presenting Key Words Include: is a performance installation piece that combines theatre, poetry, sound and visual art.
  • Jade Forest Productions under the direction of Frost Bites alum Jessica Marshall promises to challenge audiences to reflect on the repercussions of the climate crisis utilizing original music and sceneries in Seasons.
  • 2019 Fringe performer (Slow Dancing with Mediocre Boys) Grace Smith (Okay Grace Productions) offers The Smartest Person in the Room; a comedy that explores impostor syndrome and insecurities.
  • Flint & Steel Productions, led by Fringe ALERT Program Alum Annalee Flint in amo, amas, amat; an exploration of beauty and grief through love.
  • A co-production between Be(e) Right Back and MIXED Theatre Hamilton to present MIGRANT STORIES, a short production of immigrants to Canada and Hamilton from contrasting perspectives.
  • Site-specific specialists Open Heart (led by local designer Kelly Wolf) who will build the foundation of a larger work by first taking a closer look at individual stories in Conversations Around the Table.

Tickets are now on sale for the fifth annual Frost Bites Festival and can be purchased directly from the Hamilton Fringe starting at $15 for children and $25 for adults. A Festival pass (multiple days) is $40.

Feature photo of the 2016 Frost Bites Festival courtesy of the Hamilton Fringe Festival.

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