Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Critics’ Picks: 5 Events to Attend (or Stream) This November

Change has come quickly for artists and audiences this fall. At the start of the month, it seemed uncertain how long outdoor events could continue, but it felt like the best option for those looking to attend live performances. And then, over the course of just a few weeks, venues went from being able to welcome half of its capacity to full houses. Recognizing that not everyone is ready to sit next to a stranger without distancing, venues and organizations are continuing to provide hybrid options and scalable events that can be amended based on changes that may- or may not come.  

Our top picks for November combine a little of everything, but for more details on what’s happening in and around Hamilton this month, stay up to date with our full event calendar

Prospects 10: An Evening of Dance and Discussion (Aeris Korper Dance Theatre)

Aeris Korper Dance Theatre has done a remarkable job of staying connected to the dance community and its audiences throughout the pandemic. A key reason for this is PROSPECTS; its regular choreographic workshop that provides those watching with the opportunity to provide real-time feedback to the dance creation process. The November 4th edition is the first time in awhile where audiences will be able to attend the workshop in person. For those not quite ready for an in-person experience, the Dance Company is also offering an online alternative. The evening at Burlington Student Theatre highlights creatives from across Canada, including Aisha Nicholson (Toronto), Candice Irwin (Little Current), Jasmine Liaw (Vancouver) and Kala Collective (Mississauga).

Maggie: In Conversation with the Creators and Cast of Johnny Reid’s New Musical (Theatre Aquarius)

While Theatre Aquarius’ new Artistic Director Mary Francis Moore has yet to announce her inaugural season, she’s finding ways to keep audiences entertained. Case in point, a one-night only event with Tony nominated and Olivier award-winning producer Michael Rubinoff (Come From Away), playwright Matt Murray, co-composer Bob Foster and Johnny Reid. Together, the ensemble will discuss the development of the new musical, Maggie (formerly My Bonnie Lass), which has been in development since 2019 and had its first staging at Sheridan’s incubator, the Canadian Musical Theatre Project. The November 4th experience will feature songs from the show featuring cast members Dharma Bizier, Liam Crober-Best and Will Lincoln-Gouett, as well as an inside look into the creative process. 

Legacy: In Support of the Downie-Wenjack Fund (Burlington Performing Arts Centre)

Performance and storytelling come together in the Burlington Performing Arts Centre’s November 5th presentation in support of the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund. This special fundraising event features an incredible lineup of Canadian musicians that make the performance a worthwhile splurge. It’s an added bonus that the proceeds go towards continuing a collective reconciliation journey. Musicians performing include Tom Wilson, Kevin Hearn (Barenaked Ladies), Josh Finlayson (Skydiggers), Logan Staats, Emm Gryner, Philip Davis and the Land Back Unity Jam Band and more. Two viewing options are available for this concert- audience members wanting an in-person experience are able to attend the concert live, while those preferring to watch from the comfort of their own home can buy a livestream ticket.

Midnight Baby

Stand-up comic and longform storyteller Justin Shaw headlines an evening named after his successful 2021 Hamilton Fringe show. Beginning in junior high and ending with one of his first jobs, Shaw’s performance took the audience through three pivotal relationships in his life, each tied together with the overall theme of his inner journey. The recorded production told a beautiful story, executed with grace and an intuitive understanding of comedy, which will likely be magnified by a live audience to share Shaw’s energy. In addition to Shaw’s headlining presentation, the November 7th performance at The People Under the Staircase also features Hamilton comedians Ashley Grace, Matthew Surina, Mike Mitchell and host Ryan Sim

gritLIT Festival Bookclub

Hamilton’s annual literary festival presents a condensed fall program, featuring workshops, author talks and writing contests over two days. However, gritLIT’s free bookclub on November 28th is particularly worth noting. A tremendous success when launched at the Spring 2021 Festival, the bookclub invited community members to participate for free in a facilitated conversation featuring one of the Festival’s authors. This fall, the Festival is once again inviting Hamilton booklovers to connect and read Festival founder Krista Foss’ latest novel Half Life and come together for a guided discussion. While the event is free to attend, registration is limited.

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