As the summer continues and audiences start to return, artists and collectives are bringing back some of their- and our- favourite events. In some cases, it’s been two years (or more) since these events have been on offer. There’s no shortage of great events to check out this month- but our favourites are below.
For more details on what’s happening in and around Hamilton this month and other great shows to check out, stay up to date with our full event calendar.
Blackberry (Red Betty Theatre)
Red Betty Theatre has adapted their micro-play of the same name into a full-length production, staged outdoors at Corktown’s Carter Park from August 4-21. Featuring four up-and-coming performers, Blackberry tells the story of three teens who find their peace together in an urban hideout until the discovery of a dead body destroys their urban utopia and forces them to confront their everyday lives, in the process examining the role of systemic racism and its effect on their youth. Audience members are welcome to bring lawn chairs and blankets to the outdoor setting of Carter Park, and Tuesdays are pay-what-you-can to ensure anyone is able to attend.
Crystal Methyd (House of Adam and Steve)
Ru Paul’s Drag Race fans unite! The House of Adam and Steve specialize in welcoming and inclusive events, and are bringing Drag Race Season 12 finalist Crystal Methyd to Hamilton for one-night only. During Season 12 of the popular show, Methyd became known for her looks and attitude described as “kooky.” It wasn’t unusual to see her dressed as animals, monsters or imaginative figures- so it’s likely that her live stage performance will be equally unique and memorable. Her one-night only show in Hamilton will take place at the Bridgeworks on Saturday, August 13 with meet-and-greet options available beginning at 8:30pm, and the show at 10pm.
The local celebration of the arts has evolved a few times in its short life- first, as ArtsFest in Waterdown; then moving to Westdale in 2019 before evolving primarily into a music event in 2021. This year, the renamed ArtsWest focuses specifically on country and roots music during the weekend-long event, with local artists on patios throughout the Westdale area. For those looking for bigger names or bigger performances, head to the Westdale Cinema, who will be hosting ninety-minute concerts by The New Rebel Westerners (August 13); The Redhill Valleys (August 13); Mahima (August 14); Brian John Harwood (August 14) and a Johnny Cash tribute show (August 14).
Art Battle Hamilton
Imagine creating a complete work of art from start to finish in twenty minutes, while a crowd watches- and then votes on a winning piece of art- and you’ve got the premise of Art Battle. Six artists will compete in each of two qualifying rounds, with each round lasting twenty minutes. The top two painters from each round as determined by an audience vote will paint a second time- and a new canvas- in a third and final round to crown a champion. Best of all, every canvas painted is up for auction, so you can leave with a new piece of art. The battle goes down at the Casbah on August 14, beginning at 4pm.
Midsummer Nights: A Dream (Tottering Biped Theatre)
Shakespearean works have a long tradition in outdoor summer theatre, and after leaving their home at the Royal Botanical Gardens and enduring a pandemic, it’s good to see Tottering Biped Theatre return with their whimsical take on classic works in a new outdoor setting. This year, the company will perform Shakespeare’s popular comedy A Midsummer’s Night Dream, and promises a highly physical adaptation with some extraordinary transformations. To keep up with demand, Tottering Biped will perform in two separate venues. From August 16-20 and August 30-September 3, audiences can watch the outdoor performance against the backdrop of Dundurn Castle. From August 23-27, the production travels west to Ancaster’s Fieldcote Memorial Park & Museum Bandshell. If Tottering Biped’s past summer Shakespearean performances are any indication, all of these shows will sell out quickly.