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‘Unwavering support’

The Incite Foundation for the Arts supports the contributions of the Tottering Biped Theatre and the Hamilton Academy of Performing Arts. 

The Incite Foundation for the Arts has contributed more than $6 million to 30 Hamilton-area organizations, through grants from $2,500 to $150,000, since it was founded in 2011. It is the legacy of the late Carl and Kate Turkstra who believed the arts are key to quality of life and critical to the future of Hamilton. And they believed anyone, regardless of circumstance, should be able to enjoy and pursue music, theatre and visual art. HAMILTON CITY Magazine is showcasing the incredible, creative and talented recipients of Incite grants. Here we share the work of the Tottering Biped Theatre and the Hamilton Academy of Performing Arts.

Tottering Biped Theatre

Tottering Biped Theatre has been producing bold contemporary theatre since 2009. PHOTOS: TOTTERING BIPED THEATRE

Tottering Biped Theatre (TBT) is based on a radical idea: the talent, spaces, and audiences needed to create the vibrant, bold, hard-hitting professional contemporary theatre that happens in Toronto could happen right here.

Our first season in 2009 featured existentialist stand-up comedy, a queer love letter series, and a piece about terrorism. As per the usual Canadian theatre practice, we had two to three weeks of rehearsal and then opening night came, ready or not. After considering this model we pivoted to a different approach: multi-phase creative processes of original works over several years. It's hard, it's long – and it results in deeply considered work we tour for years.

TBT's first original piece was First Dance, a ballroom dance/theatre piece about the development of a first dance at a same sex wedding. The second was The Second Life, a physics fantasia about a woman searching for a sister who is lost in the first online “open world” game in the ’90s. Recently completed is Bulfinch's Mythology, a homoerotic exploration of the original translator of Greek and Roman myths in the West, Thomas Bulfinch, done in text and mime. 

Balancing out these contemporary pieces is our annual summer Shakespeare project, "Shakespeare by Nature." We emphasize emerging, local artists and technicians creating work that operates like a Trojan horse –  people expect bodkins and lacey ruffles; they get work set in drag clubs, as a sci-fi experience, or in a dreamscape. It messes with gender, explores colonialism, and interrogates contemporary life. The language is old; the ideas are not.

With the unwavering support of the Incite Foundation, TBT continues to totter on, creating and touring with great success. Aiming higher and higher each year (especially post COVD-19 lockdowns), we are still working to build that key core audience willing to take the risks we do to create vital theatre. We hope you’ll join us. Find us at totteringbiped.ca 

Hamilton Academy of Performing Arts

The Nutcracker is a Hamilton tradition. PHOTOS: BALAZS KRALOVANSZKY

Step into the enchanting world of The Nutcracker, a dazzling ballet production that,mesmerizes audiences year after year in Hamilton. Picture this: more than 70 performers donning brilliant-coloured costumes, a live 30-piece orchestra filling the air with melodic symphonies, and internationally acclaimed guest dancers gracefully gliding across the stage. 

This spectacle, presented every December at the McIntyre Performing Arts Centre, is the masterpiece of the Hamilton Academy of Performing Arts (HAPA). Established in 2009 as a beacon of artistic excellence, HAPA has been a nurturing ground for budding talents, for all age groups. Its foundational history included incorporating academic education (grades 4 through 12) with the artistic pursuits of ballet, music, vocal and drama. 

The HAPA's graduates have become trailblazers, carving their paths in universities, colleges and ballet companies across Canada, U.S. and Europe. Despite the tumultuous waves of the COVID-19 pandemic, HAPA emerged resilient, restructuring its operations to focus on out-of-school artistic programs and community outreach. From performance opportunities to summer ballet intensives, the academy remains a pillar of cultural enrichment in Dundas.

At the heart of this cultural oasis lies The Nutcracker, a beloved tradition since 2014 that ignites the imaginations of audiences young and old. Thanks to the unwavering support of the Incite Foundation, these performances continue to weave magic into the fabric of Hamilton's community, ensuring that every child, dancer, and audience member experiences the transformative power of ballet.

Every spring, the academy puts out an audition call to the entire Hamilton and surrounding areas inviting young emerging dancers to audition and partake in this once a year performance. So, if you haven't yet experienced the wonder of HAPA's Nutcracker ballet, mark your calendars for next December. Prepare to be whisked away on a journey where dreams come alive, and the spirit of the holiday season dances in the air.

See past stories about Incite

The lasting legacy of Carl and Kate Turkstra

Musicata, Hamilton Voices and the Carnegie Gallery

Factory Media Centre and the Burlington New Millennium Orchestra

Burlington Symphony Orchestra and Bach Elgar Choir

Hamilton All Star Jazz Bands and Hamilton Artists Inc.

Incite Foundation supports new musical incubator