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This week sees the arrival of the 34th Hat Fair -, the UK’s longest running street theatre festival, which begins on Thursday 3rd July and runs for four fun filled days through to Sunday 6th July. The festival is jam-packed with hundreds of breathtaking performances from over 200 national and international artists taking place throughout Winchester’s ancient streets. Every performance is free to view for all, though donations are welcome.

Named after the tradition of throwing donations into performance hats, Hat Fair started as a buskers’ festival in 1974. Now, 34 years later, it’s bigger and better than ever before. The 2008 programme is both explosive and inspirational, featuring artists from all over the globe, including England, Australia, Canada, Spain, Portugal, Belgium and Ireland. Specially commissioned shows include Metro Boulot Dodo’s Winter, Bash Street Theatre’s The Station and Avanti Display’s Leak!, The Bell by Periplum, Inside Out by Fraser Hooper, The Two Wrongies new walkabout show, and The Séance by Paschale Straiton. Nukhut will present an open rehearsal of their show Movieplex. There are also inspiring new shows presented by the Without Walls consortium, Winchester’s new venue Cornershop and many new circle acts, as well as some festival favourites.

In addition, the programme includes innovative community and education projects including Inside Out Day on Thursday, involving a procession through the city, where local school children knock on the doors of civic buildings, asking senior representatives to answer their questions.

Friday is Schools Day with a colourful procession of over 1000 children in costume with music and dance, culminating in outdoor theatre, circus and craft workshops by the city’s famous cathedral.

Without Walls

Without Walls is a consortium of seven of the UK’s most strategically significant street arts festivals, who have come together to develop and present work from a new generation of street artists. The 2008 Without Walls partners are: Hat Fair, Stockton International Riverside Festival, Greenwich and Docklands International Festival, Brighton Festival, The Bristol Do, Norfolk and Norwich Festival and Xtrax Manchester. Hat Fair will be presenting eight of the nine new Without Walls shows as part of this year’s programme.

Local Artists

Hat Fair is keen to support local emerging and established artists and each year we provide a platform from which their work can be viewed and encountered. In 2008, the festival has commissioned: Wet Picnic’s The Dinner Table and new venue, The Cornershop and two temporary mazes from acclaimed artist Graham Burgess. We are also presenting Blue Apple Theatre, puppetry workshops with The River People Theatre Company and Bootworks Theatre’s Un Boite Andalouse (The Black Box).

New Hat Fair Market

The Hat Fair Markets are a vibrant part of the celebrations with a strong focus on local and original goods and produce. A selection of local crafts stalls can be found in Market Street and traders from around the UK in a new venue at Colebrook Street Car Park. We have a range of food and drinks available in Abbey Gardens on Saturday. Oram’s Arbour on Sunday hosts our annual Hat Fair Picnic with arts, crafts, food and drinks available throughout the day.

Hat Fair Living Archive

The Big Fat Hairy Hat Fair Exhibition opened in the new City Space in Winchester Discovery Centre on June 28th and runs for three weeks. In the exhibition you will find the history of Hat Fair, sets, costumes and items from performances, a peek behind the scenes of the festival, a memory booth where you can record your Hat Fair stories, children’s craft workshops and the finalists’ artwork from this year’s Hat Fair Painting Competition.

Schedule of Events

Thursday 3rd July
11.00 – 14.30 Inside Out Day
15.30 – 20.30 The Ron Purse Memorial Pram Races

Friday 4th July
10.30 – 17.00 Schools Day
17.00 – 23.00 Evening Programme

Saturday 5th July
11.00 – 23.00 Daytime and Evening Programme
18.30 – 23.00 Street Continental

Sunday 6th July
12.00 – 18.00 Hat Fair Picnic

For further press information, please contact:

Hannah Ashwell
Festival Manager
07768 432842/ 01962 849841
Celebrating street arts

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Hat Fair in the following categories: Children & Teenagers, Entertainment & Arts, Leisure & Hobbies, for more information visit