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breathtaking performances from over 40 national and international companies taking place throughout Winchester’s ancient streets

"Winchester Hat Fair is destined to become an Outdoor Arts Festival of National and International significance." - ARTS COUNCIL SOUTH EAST

Hat Fair, Winchester,, the UK’s longest running and most exciting Street Theatre Festival, is delighted to announce the dates for this year’s 35th event – Thursday 2 July to Sunday 5 July 2009.

As ever, Hat Fair will continue to uphold its reputation for presenting innovative and beautiful outdoor performances, exciting, unique and highly skilled small-scale shows and an engaging programme of community arts and education, woven into the heart of the beautiful city of Winchester.

This year’s Hat Fair will offer four fun-filled days and will be jam-packed with hundreds of breathtaking performances from over 40 national and international companies taking place throughout Winchester’s ancient streets. In a credit crunch world, Hat Fair doesn’t charge the audience a penny for all but one performance – the evening cabaret. The rest are free to view for all, though donations are welcome.

Named after the tradition of throwing donations into performers’ hats, Hat Fair started as a buskers’ festival in 1974. Now, 35 years later, its evolution has been fascinating and is now bigger and better than ever before.

The 2009 programme is both explosive and inspirational, featuring artists from all over the globe, including England, Wales, Ireland, Australia, Spain, Canada, New Zealand and America.

Special highlights on the small scale line-up this year include the Incredible talents of Los Dos Play, Mario Queen of The Circus and Orkestra Del Sol and many more circle acts that you will not have seen the likes of before. Over the weekend there will be some wonderful and interactive Installations around the town, Cathedral Green and Close including, The Insect Circus Museum, The Amazing Camera Obscura and Bootworks new show, ‘Little Box of Horrors’ to name but a few. Look out for Close Acts breathtaking show ‘Saurus’, the wonderful Flying Buttresses and the return of Winchester favourites ‘Heliosphere’ on Saturday evening as well as many other 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 of the City any questions they wish.

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

Sian Thomas, Artistic Director of Celebrations, commented 'I am really looking forward to the Hat Fair Festival this year. As the City puts on its celebratory hat, we'll have many great new shows from artists across the nation, as well as from all over the World'.

Hat Fair Cabaret

‘Baby Needs Milk’ present ‘ONE TOO MANY’
Venue: Winchester School of Art Students’ Union, Park Avenue, Winchester, Hants.

For the first time ever, Hat Fair presents cabaret company ‘Baby Needs Milk’ Exhibiting skill, ingenious thinking and eye-catching stunts from right within the audience, ‘One Too Many’ display a real desire to give the audience a fabulous time.

Embracing the entire theatre, everything is there to be shared, especially the jokes which are as deft and spectacular as the rest of the show. Most inspiringly, it showcases great performances and artists with a real and genuine imagination.

Cabaret Show Times:

Thursday 2 July – 8.00pm (doors) show starts 8.30pm
Friday 3 July – 8.00pm (doors) show starts 8.30pm
Saturday 4 July - 8.00pm (doors) show starts 8.30pm

Cabaret Ticket Prices:

£10 full price £8 concessions – available from the Theatre Royal Box Office
Tel: 01962 840 440

Without Walls
Without Walls is a consortium of eight 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.
In 2009 Without Walls has commissioned and supported 10 UK companies to produce new work, encouraged new artistic collaborations and present a tour of exciting new outdoor performances for the festival season.
At Hat Fair we are very proud to be a founding member of this consortium and to be able to present eight of these new performances over the weekend.

Hat Fair Markets

The Hat Fair Markets are a vibrant part of the celebrations with a strong focus on local and original goods and produce. This year’s stalls include hand-made diachronic and silver jewellery, original artworks, juggling equipment and crafts from Thailand, India, Tibet, Africa and Morocco amongst other countries.

Hat Fair t-shirts and merchandise will be on sale throughout the weekend. Also there will be lots of tasty food during Saturday evening, a perfect addition to the feast of entertainment that will also be on offer.

There will be a range of food and drinks available in Oram’s Arbour on Sunday a location which hosts our annual Hat Fair Picnic with arts, crafts, food and drinks available throughout the day.

Contemporary Art, Craft & Design Fair - Cathedral Inner Close, 10am - 6pm

This wonderful selling exhibition presents a unique opportunity to see Guilds of Craftsmen from Hampshire, Berkshire, Sussex, Surrey and Oxfordshire alongside a large number of outstanding independent craftspeople.

Awe, admiration and inspiration are just some of the things you can expect to experience (and take home!). Admission (allows unlimited entry): £3 per person, children under 16 free with accompanying adults. A special Private View, with wine and refreshments, will be held on Friday 3 July from 6pm – 8pm, tickets £10 available from 18 May 2009 from the Winchester Cathedral Box Office – Tel 01962 857275.

Hat Fair Schedule of Events

Thursday 2 July:
10.00 – 14.30 Inside Out Day – meet at Oram’s Abour

Friday 3 July:
10.30 – 17.00 Hat Fair Kicks Off
18.30 – 20.45 Evening Programme

Saturday 4 July:
11.00 – 23.00 Daytime and Evening Programme
18.30 – 23.00 Street Continental

Sunday 5 July:
12.00 – 18.00 Hat Fair Picnic at Oram’s Abour


For more information, interviews or digital images please contact Mike Martins on 01962 849841 or 07971 201469 email:

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