Sunday, February 25, 2024

Five Hamilton Artists To Watch For In 2023

The year may be coming to an end, but for many in Hamilton’s arts scene, 2022 was only the beginning. This city has given rise to a host of talent, from theatre to comedy and everything in between. With a new year just around the corner, here’s the local talent to keep an eye on in 2023.

Porch Light Theatre Hamilton

This company made its mark this year by taking home the Hamilton Fringe Festival’s Audience Choice Award for The House Key Project—an innovative production performed in Theatre Aquarius’ backstage space. Run by local creative powerhouses Karen Ancheta, an original member of The Hamilton 7, and award-winning director/playwright Aaron Jan, Porch Light Theatre aims to provide a platform specifically for racialized artists. The company initially made a splash alongside local arts presenter/supporter INDUSTRY with The Garden Project and The Garden Party, which provided support and mentorship to artists to bring works to fruition. With seeds sown and a foundation for success laid, we look forward to see how Porch Light Theatre shines in 2023.

Red Brick Theatre

Another Fringe phenomenon, Red Brick Theatre burst onto the improv comedy scene this year with their award-winning Hallmark parody, End With a Kiss. Though the romances and cast pairings changed with each performance, the audience’s love for this company’s debut show remained the same. Red Brick Theatre walked away with Best in Fringe from the Hamilton Fringe Festival and revived their smash hit at the Staircase for a sold-out holiday season run. With so much acclaim straight out of the gate, Red Brick Theatre is bound to have Hamilton laughing in the new year.

Hamilton Black Film Festival

First rolling out the red carpet only a year ago, the Hamilton Black Film Festival returned in 2022 with another celebration of BIPOC-created cinema. With only two years under its belt as part of Hamilton’s burgeoning film scene, the festival continues to grow in size and recognition. Next year’s Hamilton Black Film Festival is already slated for May 2023, with submissions now open and both in-person and virtual screenings set to be on offer.

Michael Kras

No stranger to the Ones to Watch list, award-winning Hamilton playwright Michael Kras showed off his chops again this year with the premier of his new play ‘No Big Deal’, produced by Roseneath Theatre. Part of Tottering Biped Theatre’s fall season, ‘No Big Deal’ also toured high schools in the GTA. With two new plays on Michael’s writing docket, and support from a playwriting residency, 2023 promises more locally-written theatre on the horizon.

Jessica Clement

With two star-studded feature films wrapped this year and her own acting studio thriving in conjunction, Jessica Clement is a local star on the rise. Nicholas Cage and Richard Gere set the city abuzz when they came to Hamilton in 2022, prompting headlines from Urbanicity and the Hamilton Spectator. But while the rest of us were looking at paparazzi shots of the celebs, Jessica was staring alongside them. With a new session of acting classes and film premiers coming up in the new year, Jessica is definitely an actor to keep an eye on.

Note: This article was edited after publication to correct that Porch Light Theatre is a separate entity from INDUSTRY.

Editor’s Note: In keeping in line with our values, it is noted that the producer of End with a Kiss also manages elements of the Beyond James website. They were not involved in the publishing of this article.

Maxie Dara
Maxie Dara
Maxie is a freelance writer, journalist and award-winning playwright based in Hamilton with a love of theatre and decidedly too many cats.

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