Monthly Fun House performances bring the Hamilton arts community together

Michelle Li
May 1, 2024
Est. Reading Time: 2 minutes

Hamilton Festival Theatre Company fosters community with a theatre-forward variety show at the Staircase

The Hamilton Festival Theatre Company hosted their third Fun House on Mar. 19 at the Staircase to showcase their work. Hosted by Franny McCabe Bennett, managing director of HFTCo, the event gave audiences a peek behind the scenes at the artists responsible for the Hamilton Fringe Festival.

HFTCo was started in 2002 and it introduced the Fringe Festival, which explore countercultural ways of doing theatre, to Hamilton.

HFTCo aims to train and showcase Hamilton’s rising theatre artists and storytellers through their platform, while making theatre accessible to everyone. Along with the annual summer Fringe Festival, HFTCo runs a number of other events and programs throughout the year. These include winter storytelling festival Frost Bites, teen performing arts program Spark and the Artistic Leadership and Entrepreneurial Training program.

This year, they started up Fun House, which is a monthly variety night that acts as a community mixer and a fundraiser. Through Fun House, HFTCo strengthens their relationships with artists in the community while also raising funds for their other community events through a "pay what you can" format.

Fun House features music, stories, comedy shows and interviews, usually with past and present Fringe performers and administrators. The Mar. 19 show featured educator and McMaster alumna Maddie Krusto and Canadian Comedy Award winner and Fringe veteran Natasha Boomer who both explored “What is Theatre?” during their segment. It also featured Christopher Stanton, the executive director at HFTCo, who did a 10-minute sing-a-long with his guitar.

Through their initiatives, such as Fun House, HFTCo hopes to bring local artists to the spotlight while bringing the Hamilton arts community together.

“We are super proud of the community work that we do [with] platforming artists and doing it together with our allies here around Hamilton,” said Christopher Stanton, the executive director of HFTCo.

Stanton hopes HFTCo's initiatives will showcase their version of theatre, which he describes as punk rock, thought-provoking and hard yet beautiful. He also hopes that HFTCo will empower the local community.

“It's our dream to be one of the things that lifts Hamilton into a place where we're all proud [of, a place] where the arts are accessible and welcoming for everybody,” said Stanton.

It's our dream to be one of the things that lifts Hamilton into a place where we're all proud [of, a place] where the arts are accessible and welcoming for everybody.

Christopher Stanton, HFTCo, executive director


In addition to the monthly Fun House shows, HFTCo will be hosting a gala fundraiser in May and their annual Fringe Festival in July.

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