Skip navigation
Skip navigation
You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser.

One of the great pleasures of Street Arts festivals is that they make you slow down and put the wonder back into everyday life

29 April 2010: For Immediate Release

Winchester Hat Fair is delighted to announce the dates of the 2010 Hat Fair and the celebrations surrounding its 36th year.

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

"One of the great pleasures of Street Arts festivals is that they make you slow down and put the wonder back into everyday life. Wherever you were in Winchester at this years' Hat Fair, you could hear the distant sound of laughter – as if the whole town was smiling together."
 Lyn Gardner – Theatre Critic, The Guardian, Monday 6 July 2009

Hat Fair, Winchester, the UK’s longest running and most exciting Street Theatre Festival, is delighted to announce the dates for this year’s 36th festival – Thursday 1 July to Sunday 4 July 2010.

Now even bigger and better than last year, Hat Fair 2010 continues 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 skillfully into the heart of the beautiful city of Winchester.

This year’s Hat Fair will offer four amazing days, jam-packed with hundreds of breathtaking performances from over 40 national and international companies taking place throughout Winchester’s ancient streets. And remarkably in a credit crunch world, Hat Fair doesn’t charge the 30,000-strong audience a penny, though donations are welcome.

Named after the tradition of throwing donations into performers’ hats, Hat Fair started as a buskers’ festival in 1974. Now, 36 years later, its evolution has been fascinating and astounding.

The 2010 programme is both explosive and inspirational, featuring 44 artists and companies from all over the globe including the United Kingdom, Australia, America and France.

As ever, there are community and education projects including Inside Out Day on Thursday, involving a procession through the city by local school children who knock on the doors of civic buildings, asking senior representatives of the City a questions of choice. Organised this year by theatrical company Wet Picnic, Inside Out Day will prove more progressive and innovative than ever more.

Martin Tod, PPC Lib Dem, commented “One highlight for me is Inside Out, where local children walk down the High Street and ask people from a range of different jobs and professions to come out and answer their questions. They're definitely some of the hardest questions I've had to face!”

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.

Keith Wilson, Business Improvement District Manager, Winchester City Centre Partnership Ltd said, “Hat Fair is tremendously important for Winchester. Aside from the huge increase in footfall and trade the festival brings to the city the real value is in the sense of community and coming together the event gives the people of Winchester. Winchester city centre is a great place to be the whole year round but Hat Fair really is a truly unmissable and joyous moment in the annual calendar.”

Sian Thomas, Artistic Director of Hat Fair Celebrations, enthused “Hat Fair is a wonderful thing! Now in its 36th year, the Hat Fair has the feeling of a European festival in the way that it feels owned by the people of the town, the vibrancy of the programme and the fiesta atmosphere".

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 2010 Without Walls has commissioned and supported seven 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 these new performances over the weekend.

The Without Walls Festival Consortium consists of the Brighton Festival, The Bristol Do, Greenwich and Docklands International Festival, Stockton International Riverside Festival, Winchester Hat Fair, Norfolk and Norwich Festival, Cumbria Lakes Alive and X.Trax Manchester.

The ZEPA Network - an INTEREG Funded partnership.

Zone European de Projets Artistiques

The ZEPA Network is an exciting and innovative Trans-National partnership between 5 UK and 4 French Street Theatre Arts Producers, Festivals and their producers.

Over the next 3 years the ZEPA partners will work together to commission, produce and present a good number of outdoor arts shows and projects, Hat Fair being just one.

Working with both UK and French Outdoor Artists, ZEPA partners will be presenting work on the streets of the INTEREG region of Northern France and Southern England from Cornwall to Brittany, Great Yarmouth to Amiens, Newhaven to Rouen and many other places in between.

There will also be many other artistic and creative personal exchanges alongside the presentations, including workshops, volunteering opportunities, education and inter-generational projects.

ZEPA hopes these projects and events will touch the hearts of all who engage, watch and participate.

The ZEPA partners are;

Winchester Hat Fair
Southampton City Council
Brighton Festival
Seachange Arts – Great Yarmouth
ZAP Arts
Culture Commune – Loos en Gohelle
Amiens Metropole and Le Hangar - Amiens
L’Atelier 231 -Sotteville les Rouen

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.

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.

Hat Fair Schedule of Events

Thursday 1 July:
10.00 – 14.30 Inside Out Day

Friday 2 July:
10.30 – 17.00 Hat Fair Kicks Off
18.30 – 20.45 Evening Programme

Saturday 3 July:
11.00 – 23.00 Daytime and Evening Programme
18.30 – 23.00 Street Continental

Sunday 4 July:
12.00 – 18.00 Hat Fair Picnic at Oram’s Abour, Winchester


Notes to Editors:

Hat Fair is registered charity number 00400059.

For further press information, interviews and digital images please contact:
Mikey Martins, email, phone 07971 201469

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