About Us

Gritty City Theatre Company is dedicated to delving into and producing future works that delve into issues related to class and race. Our objective is to craft theatrical and cinematic productions that authentically represent the diverse spectrum of human experiences.Gritty City Theatre is situated upon the traditional territories of the Erie, Neutral, Huron-Wendat, Haudenosaunee and Mississaugas. This land is covered by the Dish With One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant, which was an agreement between the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabek to share and care for the resources around the Great Lakes. We further acknowledge that this land is covered by the Between the Lakes Purchase, 1792, between the Crown and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.

Our Story

Gritty City Theatre Company was established in 2019 in the North End of Hamilton. Our primary goal is to artistically explore stories and various genres that delve into issues related to class and race. We embarked on our initial venture into theater production with David Auburn's play "Lost Lake" at the Hamilton Fringe Festival. Since then, our collaboration with the Fringe has expanded to include a children's show titled "Magical Storytelling with Mermaid Melissa and Jellyfish Jason," (2020) as well as two short films: "Hammered: An Apocalyptic Comedy," written by Melissa Murray-Mutch and directed by John Riley O'Handley (2021), and "Hammered 2.0 - Moonrocks vs. Moonshine," co-written by Melissa Murray-Mutch and Lucy Reddy (2022), with Lucy Reddy serving as the director. These projects were part of the Hamilton Fringe's Digital Exclusive category. Additionally, we've initiated a collective known as "The Canadian Slavery Project." Within this collective, our group of writers is collecting colonial fugitive slave advertisements and using them as inspiration to craft monologues that imagine the experiences of enslaved Canadians during the 18th Century. The culmination of this effort will be a theatrical performance scheduled for 2023/2024.

Board of Directors

Deann McGlinchey


Marina Wallits

Amanda Storms

Brian MacDonald

Christal Pshyk

Core Team

Melissa Murray-Mutch (Co-Founder, Artistic Director / Actor / Playwright) is an artist & educator & co-Education Coordinator at Theatre Aquarius Theatre School. Melissa is an art educator with AGH & Manhattan Theatre Club in NYC. Her play “Unwanted” premiered at the first “Decolonize Your Ears Festival” with Red Beti Theatre for which she earned grants from OAC & the 2022 Garden Party Award from Porchlight Theatre & Industry. An excerpt of the play was performed at the 2023 Brave New Works Festival. Melissa co-founded the Gritty City Theater Company. Acting work includes  “Lost Lake”, “The Fertility Project”, & “Conversations Around the Table” with Open Heart. Film/TV credits: “Cross”, “Ginny and Georgia”,  “A Christmas Stray”, “Titans” & “Bike”  by award winner Terrance Odette. She is the board chair of Centre 3 & a member of the Playwrights Guild.

Jason Thompson (Co-Founder, Actor / Playwright) is a co-founder of GCTC, stage actor, writer, & performer who has performed in experimental theatre to international audiences. Studying under John Turner, Michael Kennard, Sue Morrison & Karen Hines, Jason won the inaugural “Toronto Cream Of Comedy Award’ (formerly The Tim SimsEncouragement Fund Award). As a writer & actor, Jason appeared in ”Penitentiary Of Love” taking it to the New York Fringe Festival in 1997 where it became the only Canadian production to be invited back for an extended off-Broadway run. Jason wrote, performed, & toured a controversial one-man show in 2013, entitled “The Sods,” which toured Canada, both challenging & delighting audiences & critics with its savage deconstruction of the sex industry.

JR O’Handley (Actor / Producer) relocated to Hamilton in 2019. He holds an MFA from the Actors Studio at Pace University NYC & a member of the writers/directors unit. Recent directing: “Hammered 1.0”, LOST LAKE for GCTC (Hamilton Fringe at the Cotton Factory), & the short film “A Tour & A Drink.” Additional acting: WIDE AWAKE HEARTS, FUNNY HOUSE OF A NEGRO, NECTAR, and PAINS OF YOUTH. Film, television, & media projects include “The Sanctuary”(Feature), “Taken Home”(Short Film), “Hammered 2.0”, “Witches Of Salem” (mini-series), “Cleared for Chaos”(TV movie), & “The Phenomenon”(Audio Series). Original roles include Henrik in ADIOS FJORD & Kevin in BONE CAGE. NYC and Hamilton teaching includes Hamilton Conservatory For The Arts, NYU, CUNY, Columbia, Rockefeller University, The American Museum Of Natural History, & others.

Lucy Reddy (Film & Marketing Director / Producer) a graduate from Toronto Film School, began her career voluntarily working at the Canadian Film Centre as a Script Supervisor and at Toronto’s International Film Festival. Shortly after, her journey started on Quibi’s Dodge & Mile’s pilot series as a Shift Supervisor working with union actors. Lucy had the opportunity to navigate between departments and began working as a Location Support Personnel on a Netflix original, The Umbrella Academy. She is formerly known as an Education Coordinator and Project Portfolio Manager where she led multiple research analysis projects for Canada’s Immigration Regulatory Council (ICCRC), working closely with the Director of Education. Recently, Lucy became an ArtWorksTO Next Stream 2021 alumni this past June where she was mentored by her leadership team at The Remix Project. Lucy became the Creative Director of her most recent work, Tower Renewal corporate video for the City of Toronto. Lucy Reddy is what most would say, as someone intolerable. Although this can be a flaw for many, it’s a weapon for Lucy. She’s the person who is always there, she’s probably even in your likes. Someone attentive and always exploring her paths by mastering the true art of drive and consistency. Lucy is ready to be a part of the conversation.

Mason Haigh (Unheard Voices – Actor/Playwright / Grant Writer) is currently writing a play with Toronto Arts Council support. Other work includes writer/producer/performer in stage readings of her comedy, “Keeping Mum”, alongside a professional cast in 2 of ‘b current Performing Arts’ festivals, ‘rock.paper.sistahz.9’ & their 11th annual ‘‘rock.paper.sistahz’ (Play NiCe Theatre Presentations); writer of “Sleeping Dogs Lie”, a short film (dir. John Bradshaw) part of 6 festivals; episode writer of ‘da Kink in My Hair, & story coordinator, season 1; consulting producer & writer (under a pen name) of “The Kois”, a pilot episode, nominated for 3 Rosie Awards by Alberta Motion Pictures Industry Association, including Best Drama Under 60. She has had 2 series optioned & has TV scripts in development for producers. She has a degree in Screenwriting & Screen Research.

Amanda Hinkle-Wallace (Producer / Facilitator / Operations) is a multidisciplinary artist, educator, and program director. She currently serves as Theatre Aquarius’ Theatre School Coordinator in Hamilton and Strike Anywhere Performance Ensemble’s Director of Education and Partnerships, based in NYC. Amanda has over 20 years of experience in arts-in-education, building multi-institutional and cross-sector partnerships. She has served in leadership roles at George Street Playhouse (NJ), Roundabout Theatre Company (NYC), Irondale Ensemble Project (NYC), and partnered with Queens Theatre in the Park, Lincoln Center Education, American Museum of Natural History, NYPD, BRIC Arts Media, & Mark Morris Dance Group. She has lectured at Centennial College (Canada), and with the Royal Central School of London (UK). Amanda has developed STEM to STEAM, social justice, technical theatre training, youth ensembles, school residencies and new play development models serving thousands of young people and community members.


Michaël “MJ Romain” Adolphe (Devil’s Night Production Assistant) is an independent artist born in Montreal and raised in the States. MJ attended CUNY’s Brooklyn College, studying Screenwriting. Currently, he resides in Hamilton On. He’s a published comic book author and filmmaker, with a passion for telling stories that reflect his Caribbean culture, particularly Haitian culture, and the relationships cultivated within society at large. MJ’s goal as an artist is to evoke feelings and thoughts in the audience without imposition.

Karen Ancheta (Unwanted – Dramaturg) is a multidisciplinary artist who loves theatre in all its facets. As an actor, she was last seen at Theatre Aquarius in The Extinction Therapist as Shrew. Karen’s directing credits: Shirley Valentine (Capitol Theatre), Buying The Farm (Lighthouse Festival),  In The Shadow of Elephants (Carlos Bulosan Theatre), Co-director Fertility Monologues (Light Echo), Baggage (Pulang Maleta), Asst. Director Lady In A Red Dress (fu-GEN), People Power (Theatre Passe Muraille/C.B.T.)  She is an original member of the Hamilton 7 and worked with Kwentong Bayan, Filipinas Of Hamont,  Open Heart, YPT, Carousel Players, Red Betti, Sulong, Stratford Festival, Factory, Light Echo Theatre, Cahoots/B-current, Tethered The Ghosts Healing Thread. She is co-writing a new play called O.A. w/Anna Chatterton. Artistic Director/co-founder of Porch Light Theatre Hamilton/The Garden Project and a recipient of a Hamilton Arts Award 2021. Karen is currently an Associate Artist at Theatre Aquarius, mentored by Mary Francis Moore in artistic direction courtesy of the Metcalf Foundation. She is a co-curator of the Brave New Works Festival 2023 and 2024.

Jessica Carter (Be Set Ready –  Guest Artist) is a Canadian Screen Award-winning Makeup Artist a 100 Accomplished Black Canadian Women honoree with over twenty-five years of experience in the entertainment industry. Jessica has worked on shows such as; Degrassi: The Next Generation, Spun Out, the Lifetime drama feature film Salt-N-Peppa and many more. She is the founder of Oshun Woman, a Canadian non-profit focused on empowering racialized women through teaching beauty industry skills globally. Recently, Jessica Carter became the founder of GO Creative Entertainment Management, Canada’s newest talent firm. The firm will represent some of the most pristine Canadian talent and will provide clients with professional advice on developing their career and work closely with them to achieve their career goals through professional development.

Justin Carter (Unheard VoicesActor / Playwright, Unwanted Actor) Born in Montreal, childhood in Nova Scotia, and youth in Nigeria and British Columbia. Justin has lived in Toronto since 2017. As a performer, Justin has worked in film, tv, commercials, stage, improv comedy, and written and performed three one man shows including the autobiographical, Son of Africville. Justin is relatively new to the Toronto scene, but since his arrival has been fortunate to work as an actor and improviser with Second City Toronto.

Linda V. Carter (Be Set Ready – Guest Artist) is a Director, Writer, Actor and Narrator of films and television and has accrued a multifaceted life of experiences. Linda Carter wrote, directed, produced and narrated the hour long documentary The Making of a Judge that first premiered on Rogers OMNI TV. The documentary has been shown internationally and at various film festivals. The film has been subtitled into Spanish, French and Portuguese with two accompanying teachers’ guides. Linda was invited by the Canadian Embassy in Panama to screen the film in Panama City and by the Fundación de la Etnia Negra (Black Ethnicity Foundation) for the annual Panama Canal Anniversary Celebration.  Linda is a board member of the Ontario Black History Society and is a judge for the BIPOC International Film Festival. She is the head of Black Violet Studio, developing two documentary film projects, one called “Canal Stories” and the other “The Fashion Griot”, the history of her family in photographs and clothing from 1920.

Sedina Fiati (Unheard Voices – Dramaturg / Director) is a multi award winning, Toronto based performer, producer, director, creator and activist for stage and screen. Proudly Black, queer and femme, Sedina is deeply invested in artistic work that explores the intersection between art and activism, either in form or structure or ideally both. Sedina holds a BFA in Music Theatre from the University of Windsor and is a proud graduate of Etobicoke School of the Arts. Favourite and recent artistic projects: Switch Collective (2018 – present, SummerWorks, Buddies in Bad Times, collective member) Tar: The Musical (Musical Stage Company, dramaturg), Creatryx Creation Unit (Nightwood Theatre, lead facilitator), The World Goes ‘Round (Nightwood Theatre, director), Peace Camp (Children’s Peace Theatre, director 2019 – 2021, 2023),  Every Day She Rose (Nightwood Theatre, co-director), Feminist Fuck It Festival (multidisciplinary festival, co-creator and co-producer), Tokens (performer, web series, Canadian Screen Award Winner – Best Supporting Performance). Sedina was the Artist-Activist in Residence at Nightwood Theatre and is a proud founding member of the Black Pledge Collective. Upcoming projects: 22 (play), Last Dance (a web series).

Arturo Jimenez (Hammered 2.0 – Film Editor / Devil’s Night – Cinematographer) is a second-generation Filipino and Italian born and raised in Ontario. He graduated from McMaster University with an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a specialization in Public Law and Judicial Studies. He has taken part in various artistic and non-profit initiatives in Hamilton through Centre[3], McMaster University, and various organizations and artist-run centers throughout Hamilton. He is a practicing musician, filmmaker and artist and has collaborated with both emerging and established artists.

Kitoko Mai (Unheard Voices – Actor / Playwright) is a multidisciplinary artist, storyteller, and facilitator with a penchant for developing socially conscious work that draws from lived experiences. Their work is rooted in anti-oppression, accessibility, and femme aesthetics. Their most recent work, in which they were a co-writer, lead performer, and co-producer, Thriving: A Dissociated Reverie, was selected for screening as part of the shorts program at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival.  Kitoko is also a  member of the Literal Bimbo’s collective, creating DIY zines by and for sex-workers. Kitoko has also produced several independent theatre pieces and they currently have scripted and unscripted TV projects at different stages of development. You can learn more about them at https://www.kitoko.ca/ or follow them on instagram at @kitokomai

Marilo Nuñez (Unwanted Director) is a Chilean Canadian playwright, director, dramaturge and scholar. She is a 2021 winner of the Johanna Metcalf Performing Arts Award in Theatre. She teaches playwriting using the Fornes Method and was founding Artistic Director of Alameda Theatre Company. She has an MFA in Creative Writing (University of Guelph) and is currently doing her PhD in Theatre & Performance Studies at York University.

Laura Welch (Unwanted – Actor) (she/her) is an actor/writer/director living and working in Hamilton Ontario. She is a graduate of George Brown Theatre School. Laura started Light Echo Theatre in 2019 with Rebekka Gondosch for its inaugural production of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues, in which she produced, directed and acted. She is in development with Light Echo Theatre on a collective creation piece called Fertility.  Some of her favourite theatre credits include playing Jenna in Michael Kras’ The Team (Essential Collective Theatre), Juliet in Ryan Sero’s Romeo and Juliet: An Escapist Comedy (MakeArt Theatre), and Portia in William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar (MakeArt Theatre). Laura is a proud member of both Canadian Actor’s Equity and ACTRA.

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