Artist Development 

Supporting the work of Theatre Artists

Theatre Aquarius is Hamilton’s only professional theatre. We offer a range of programs to advance the growing community of emerging, mid-career and established theatre professionals. Our programs evolve in response to the changing needs of the community and the work of theatre artists. Each has a goal of contributing to a thriving theatre ecology. 


New! 2021 Artist Development Programs

Young Company

The Young Company serves as a launching pad for young artists graduating from our Theatre School and entering the industry or pursuing post secondary education in theatre arts. With mentorship from Theatre Aquarius, this emerging artist ensemble creates and presents their work. 

Young Company 2021 is led by Janelle Cooper. Company members are Remiel Alicpala, Megan Bevilacqua, Lynnea Cobey Broad, Happy Habte, Maeve Jenkinson, Gisy Mohammed, Madeline Sadai, Michelle Van Suylekom, Dylan Vandemaele, and Kiera West.

We will showcase their work digitally on social media and our website in June 2021. Streaming details will be posted here and on social media. 

Gathering and Sharing

Gathering and Sharing puts a spotlight on local and marginalized artists and artist-run companies.

In 2021, we will be working with Porch Light Theatre, a newly formed Hamilton theatre company led by artists Karen Ancheta and Aaron Jan. The company’s focus is mentorship to marginalized artists, including IBPOC, emerging artists and youth. 

Porch Light Theatre mentorship initiatives include playwriting mentorship to emerging playwrights Carlos Jimenez and Edith Chavez and the House Key project for Refugee youth, which provides training in theatre and storytelling. Mentors include Karen Ancheta, Aaron Jan and Lisa Pijuan Nomura. 

Watch for the photo story highlights here and on our social media starting in May 2021. 

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Theatre Aquarius Presents

Theatre Aquarius Presents provides a performance platform and support for local and marginalized artists/companies. 

In 2021, we will be working with Red Betty Theatre and the Decolonize Your Ears Festival to provide ASL access. The Decolonize Your Ears Festival, which supports the voices of IBPOC female-identifying artists, is created by Red Betty Theatre, Hamilton’s oldest feminist IBPOC theatre company. The festival includes mentorship of four emerging playwrights by senior artists. Mentorship has begun. The program will culminate in play readings in June 2021. 

This program includes emerging IBPOC playwrights, Natasha (Courage) Cecily Bacchus, Melissa Murray Mutch, Gaitrie Persaud-Dhunmoon, and Joanne Roberts. Mentors are Karen Ancheta, Radha Menon, Marilo Nunez, and Donna Michelle St. Bernard. Deaf Access is being provided by by ASL interpreters Marcia Adolphe and Latasha Lennox. 

Streaming details will be posted here.

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Behind the Curtain: Digital Knowledge Sharing

Do you have a question about theatre craft or life in the theatre you would like answered? Join our Digital Knowledge Sharing program. We are creating an online series of Artist Talks, along with mini tutorials in Stage Management, Lighting, Sound, Voice, Dance, and Composition! Videos will be shared on our website and social media.

This program has two streams: Production Series and A Life in the Theatre.

The Production Series presents tutorials in theatre craft, including Lighting with Mickey Wagg, Audio with Anna Grant, Stage Management with Josephine Ho, Dancers Warmup with Amanda De Freitas, Vocal Warmup with Eliza-Jane Scott.

A Life in the Theatre features some of the distinguished artists we have worked with. In sharing their insight into a life devoted to the theatre they will pass on their valuable lived experience, knowledge, craft, artistry, and humanity to emerging artists and theatre lovers who are keen to learn more about what happens behind the curtain. We have connected with emerging artists and have asked them to provide a question for an established artist. Watch the video series here.

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Artist in Residence

The Artist in Residence Program invests in the development of a marginalized and/ or local artist artist and his or her work.

2021 Artist in Residence is award winning Metis Artist, Jessica Lea Fleming, as she develops her new work, The Properties of Spirit.

Watch for photo story highlights here.

Jessica Lea Fleming headshot

Company in Residence

Company in Residence is a two-year program that provides practical support for the development of local theatre companies.

The 2021 Company in Residence is Industry Presents, a Hamilton theatre company comprised of senior theatre artists Anna Chatterton (Governor General Award Nominee), Rick Banville, and Matt MacFadzean. Industry Presents’ philosophy is to create a power-sharing model and to create new work in new ways. Their works include plays and events. Projects include: Mercy, This is Not What You Expected, The Steps, Switched, The Corona Diaries, and The Garden Project.

To learn more about our new Artist Development programs, contact Program Director, Jennie Esdale

We also offer a range of ongoing Professional Development programs for local artists including:

Playwrights Unit

The Playwrights Unit was created to foster the development of Hamilton area writers. Meeting several times a month, each writer is required to choose one project that they wish to develop over the course of the year. Members of the Unit are invited to participate in a series of public readings during Play Reading Week

The current members of the unit are:

  • Kevin Somers
  • Steve Hartwell
  • Peter Gruner
  • Jenn Frankel
  • Vicktoria Adam
  • Tom Reidel
  • Ryan Sero
  • Michael Kras
  • Bryan Boodhoo
  • Annie Rosenberg
  • Jennifer Walton
  • Stephen Near

While admission to the Playwrights Unit is by invitation only, we welcome contact from interested playwrights and creators. Please email Luke Brown at with Playwrights Unit in the subject line

The Junction

The Junction is a program designed for creator/performers from various forms of performance. Meeting monthly, the goal of the Junction is to provide a creative environment for artists to showcase their work and receive constructive feedback to help move them closer to production.

For more information please email Luke Brown at with Junction in the subject line.

Junction Members:

  • Ryan Sero

  • Stephen Near

  • Annie Rosenberg

  • Allison Hossack

The Actors Forge

The Actors Forge is a group of local theatre professionals who meet once a week in a creative, supportive, process-driven environment. Our time together is used to work on our craft and connect with other professional artists, resulting in the growth and strengthening of skill. The Actors Forge is a place to succeed and fail, and to share and connect.

For more information, please email Luke Brown at with Actors Forge in the subject line.

Actors Forge Members:

  •  Melissa Murray-Mutch

  • Laura Welch

  • Ryan Sero

  • JR O’Handley

  • Jason Thompson

  • Kyle Guglielmo

  • Vicktoria Adam

  • Stephanie Hope Lawlor

  • Tova Ciccotelli

  • Emanuela Hall

  • Nan Chen

Need more information?

Contact: Jennie Esdale, Director of Outreach, Development, and Education