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laughter can physiologically lighten your load in life

Its a fact: laughter can physiologically lighten your load in life – come to the Laughter Workshops at this year’s Hat Fair and get that buzz!

It’s Hats off for the Hat Fair
35th Hat Fair
Thursday 2 July – Sunday 5 July 2009

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

Finally it’s the week of Hat Fair and the excitement in the ancient City of Winchester is building. The City is expecting audiences of over 30,000, which in turn brings just under £1 million for the once capital of England.

This year’s Hat Fair will offer four FREE fun-filled days and will be jam-packed with hundreds of breathtaking performances from over 40 national and international companies with both able-bodied and disabled artistes taking place throughout Winchester’s ancient streets.

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.

One notable first for Hat Fair will result in scores of laughter and hoots of hilarity from the audience under the enthusiastic guidance of Laughter Yoga leader Leeroy Hart and his Laughter Yoga workshops.

Laughter Yoga was pioneered in 1995 by Dr. Madan Katrina from Mumbai, India ( with Its primary aim to reduce stress related health problems. Leeroy studied the art of Yoga Laughter under Dr Katrina. This year, for the first time, Hat Fair and Leeroy Hart will bring laughter sessions to the Festival audiences.

Laughter Yoga is a revolutionary idea – both simple and profound. Essentially an exercise routine, it is fast sweeping the world and makes for a complete wellbeing workout. The brainchild of Dr. Madan Kataria, the first laughter club in a park on 13 March 1995, with just 5 people. Today, it has become a worldwide phenomenon with more than 6000 social laughter clubs in 60 countries.

Laughter Yoga combines unconditional laughter with yogic breathing (Pranayama). Anyone can laugh for no reason, without relying on humor, jokes or comedy. Laughter is simulated as a body exercise in a group but with eye contact and childlike playfulness, it soon turns into real and contagious laughter. The concept of Laughter Yoga is based on a scientific fact that the body cannot differentiate between fake and real laughter. One gets the same physiological and psychological benefits.

Similar to Neuro-Linguistic Programming, participants are encouraged, through a series of exercises, to ‘fake it till they make it’ into a good belly laugh. It can be confronting, but perseverance proves that laughing with others is irresistibly contagious and wonderfully liberating.

Leeroy Hart, who hails from Tasmania, has mastered in the art of laughter, and as been working for 17 years as a funny man and clown in many of Australia’s top companies, including Circus OZ, Rock’n’roll Circus and Bizircus. Leeroy expanded his laughing appeal to an all time high when he played ”Fatso” the Fat Arse Wombat for Roy and HG as part of the Sydney Olympics.

Five years ago, Leeroy decided to move beyond his wealth of clowning experience and become a teacher of Laughter Yoga. To anyone that has ever had the power to spread laughter, its healing qualities can be felt immediately, becoming a shared empowering event. As a laughologist, Leeroy teaches his audience all there is to know about laughter, how to bring more fun and happiness into your life. The stress busting benefits of laughter become apparent as one learns to relax, manage stress, and experience inner peace and happiness. The workshops will provide the tools to take charge of your life through breath, movement, play and sound.

At the end of laughter session participants almost certainly will find that they are feeling ‘lighter’, happier, in a more positive frame of mind and better connected with your friends and colleagues in a truly different and genuine way.

London-based Coaching Psychotherapist, Hypnotherapist and Life Coach Rebekah Fensome - - extols the benefits of laughter. She comments: ‘Laughter is a powerful healing phenomenon and is multi-beneficial to the individual. We are all psycho-physical human beings - meaning what we do with our bodies affect our brains. So the effect of an individual laughing tells our brain to be happy.

‘In addition, laughter can lower the level of cortisol in the body which is high when stressed, reduce high blood pressure and help with depression by increasing the production of endorphins which give us the ‘feel good factor’.

Leeroy adds: ‘Laughter provides a great work out for the muscles – it tones the tummy, face and internal organs and improves respiration and circulation which is good for asthma sufferers. It also stimulates the immune system, helping to fight disease. Laughing is a great way to enjoy yourself with friends and is suitable for all age groups and physical abilities.’

Sian Thomas, Artistic Director of Celebrations, Hat Fair says ‘Yet another first for Hat Fair, we’re really excited by the prospect of Leeroy’s Laughter Yoga workshops this year. We understand how powerful the act of laughing can be to the individual, and we can’t wait to see the positive reactions of Leeroy’s audiences.’


Notes to Editors

For further information, interviews with Sian Thomas, Artistic Director of Celebrations, Hat Fair or Mike Martins, Assistant Director, Hat Fair, or digital images visit, please email: or call 01962 849841.

Leeroy will performing his laughter workshops on: Saturday 4th July on the Winchester Cathedral Green at 10.45am, and on Sunday 5th July at 12,00pm at Oram’s Abour, Winchester. Each workshop lasts for 45 minutes.

For a electronic copy of the 2009 Hat Fair Programme, please visit or if you’d prefer to be sent a glossy paper one, please email Mike Martins: or call 07957 110655.

Join us on Facebook: Hat Fair 2009 - and you might win free tickets to the Cabaret -

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.

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, and of which Hat Fair is a founding member who have come together to develop and present work from a new generation of street artists.

Hat Fair Markets

The Hat Fair Markets are a vibrant part of the celebrations with a strong focus on local and international original goods and produce and run Friday through Sunday.

Hat Fair Schedule of Events

Thursday 2 July:
10.00 – 14.30 Inside Out Day – meet at Oram’s Abour
Inside Out Day is traditionally 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 3 July:
10.30 – 17.00 Hat Fair Kicks Off
18.30 – 20.45 Evening Programme
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.

Saturday 4 July:
10.45 – 23.00 Daytime and Evening Programme
18.30 – 23.00 Street Continental
A full day’s programme, packed from beginning to end with the best Street Theatre in the world.

Sunday 5 July:
12.00 – 18.00 Hat Fair Picnic at Oram’s Abour
A wonderful day on Oram’s Arbour taking in more shops, enjoying your picnics and catching up on any you may have missed.

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Winchester Hat Fair in the following categories: Children & Teenagers, Entertainment & Arts, Health, Leisure & Hobbies, Women's Interest & Beauty, Education & Human Resources, for more information visit