Monday, February 26, 2024

Release: The Show Must Go On as 2021 Frost Bites Festival Redefines “Site-Specific”

In the 6th annual edition of FROST BITES, Hamilton Fringe’s site-specific winter performance festival, audiences are invited to explore their relationships to space, technology, and connection. Stay-at-home, go for a walk, and engage in some theatre!

The Festival, running from February 11 – 14, offers participatory and interactive experiences that are focused on building a sense of community and connectivity, bringing us together at a time when we must remain physically apart. Five artistic companies present a series of inspirational experiences that include innovative uses of technology and engage audiences in unique ways. Offerings include self-led outdoor recreational experiences across Hamilton and interactive digital performances that you can enjoy from home.

Claire Calnan, Artist Development + Frost Bites Director shares some insights into the new format of this year’s festival: “Typically a site-specific festival, this year’s Frost Bites is largely specific to you and the space you are in. The artists engaged have shown tremendous resiliency in the midst of continuous changes to the rules around public gatherings. Their determination has manifested in this beautiful lineup of experiences that we are very excited to premiere in the coming days. We look forward to sharing with you these playful, interactive pieces designed to take you beyond the screen and build some semblance of togetherness at a time when we are physically apart.”

Featuring artists from Hamilton, Toronto, and Vancouver, BC, FROST BITES will be a theatre experience audiences can consider once-in-a-lifetime.

Hamilton’s own Femmepire offers a site-specific interactive experience designed for audiences to participate from their very own bathroom. Join creator/performer Claud Spadafora as your bathroom transforms into a spaceship, while you chat live with your fellow space rangers to navigate the universe. Bathtub Spaceship takes ‘exploring your space’ to a whole new dimension.

2020 was the year of Zoom calls and screens, but what about using your phone to connect with just one person, with the only intention of connecting? Escape, presented by Future Leisure (Vancouver, BC) is a late-night digital show where one audience member will receive a phone number to contact one artist in Vancouver with the message “I want to escape”. Shows begin at 11pm and run until 1:15am, creating connection when you might be feeling your most isolated. With a maximum of 4 tickets per night, this one-to-one experience is sure to sell out.

New for 2021, Hamilton Fringe is pleased to present the ALERT team as performers/creators in Frost Bites. Blue Light Collective (Hamilton, ON) is a collective of emerging artists-producers comprised of Carly Anna Billings, Sophie Hughes, Manisha Maharajh, Mykola Paskaruk, Margo Prunean, and Kit Simmons. missed CONNECTIONS invites audiences to explore their surroundings while diving into a history of communication technology, from telegrams to texting and beyond.

Through the Pages is an auditory and visual journey into the history of Hamilton’s library. Join Passing Through Theatre (Hamilton, ON) as audiences are guided through time and into a world of imagination, without leaving your home! This digital experience is available at any time during the festival.

Are you ready to take a walk? Without Mass: From Swale to Dome is an audio experience designed to enhance a walk through Gage Park in Hamilton, visiting many of its more interesting features including swale, rose garden, fountain, bandshell, and more. Gage Park is open from 6am-10pm daily, limited to 20 participants per day. Participants must agree to follow Hamilton Fringe’s health and safety guidelines. Without Mass is a music-based self-guided walking tour presented by Tuesday Choir (Hamilton, ON).

Says Heather Kanabe, Executive Director: “I am in awe of how the participating artistic companies have responded to endless changes, while continuing to stay true to the curatorial vision for community engagement and connectivity. These limitations have shaped what is truly transdisciplinary work, distilling a new definition of what performance can mean in the arts. The results reflect our desire at the Fringe to break down the traditional boundaries of theatre. I’m also excited to see how some of the educational programming that was provided in the fall, on digital production and site-specific work, may be represented.” Kanabe continues, “This year, we have been able to connect with artists and audiences across the country. For the first time, audiences can attend Frost Bites and get to know Hamilton simply by visiting our website.”

Tickets and passes are on sale now. Passholders can access all the events for the discounted price of $45 + HST (fees waived); single tickets are available at Pay-What-You-Can-Afford pricing ranging from $7 + HST (fees waived) to $20 + HST + handling fees. For more information, please visit

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