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Winchester warms up for the 36th Hat Fair
2-4 July 2010

For a full electronic copy of the
programme please see:

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

The UK’s longest running and most exciting Street Theatre Festival 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, woven into the heart of the beautiful city of Winchester.

This year’s Hat Fair will offer three fun-filled days and will be jam-packed with hundreds of breathtaking performances from over 45 national and international companies 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, 36 years later, its evolution has been fascinating and is now bigger and better than ever before. The shows are free to view for all, though donations for the Artists are massively welcome, look out for those stewards with their collection buckets.

Special highlights on the small scale line-up this year include the Incredibly talented and hilarious The Pitts, Pete Sweet and The English Gents and many more circle acts that you will not have seen the likes of before.

Over the weekend there will be wonderful and interactive Installations around the town, Cathedral Green, The Great Hall courtyard and Close including, Little Lupin, Once Arts’ Picnic, BOSI’s ‘Squirt or Shirt’ and Akedemi’s new show, ‘TBC’ to name but a few.

Also look out for Motionhouse and Urban Playground’s breathtaking new shows, and also the wonderful Wired Aerial Theatre plus the long awaited return of Winchester favourites ‘Skate Naked’ and ‘Stickleback Plasticus’.

We are also very proud to be working with our French Festival partners in the ‘ZEPA network’ to present the fantastic ‘Les Trois Points de Suspension’, ‘Acid Kostik’ and ‘VO Compagnie’, see the ZEPA information below or on our website to learn more about this exciting Anglo – French producing partnership.

Over the weekend there well also be many other festival treats and surprises. 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'.

Friday 2 July 2010

Friday is traditionally the unofficial ‘Festival Warm up Day’ and Schools Day, with a colourful procession of over 1000 children in costume with music and dance who will be parading from Abbey Gardens to the Cathedral, (starting from 11am) culminating in outdoor theatre, circus and craft workshops in the Cathedral grounds. This year the theme is the 'Hidden histories and myths of Winchester' - it's time to be inspired by our stories of Saxons and Vikings, signing of the Doomsday book, Fights with giants, Exotic medieval merchants, King Arthur and more!
There is a silver plate that is awarded each year as a bit of fun to the school/group who shows the most 'gusto and has the most fun'...impossible to gauge but it is in memory of a Winchester character called Ron Purse who used to join the Procession fun every year, the plate is donated by his brother.

Saturday 3 July 2010

From 11am, the streets of Winchester will be transformed into one gigantic outdoor theatre land. The existing programme consists of acts from ‘Without Walls’ and French partner ‘Zepa’.

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. 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, Cumbria Lakes Alive and X.Trax. Manchester.

Without Walls Shows

Prodigal Theatre’s Urban Playground Team present ‘The Next Level’ (UK/FRA)
Ragroof Theatre present ‘Gloves On’ (UK)
Wired Aerial Theatre in collaboration with Henri Oguike Dance Company (UK)
Akademi present ‘SUFI’ Zen (UK)
Kuljit Bhamra presents ‘Chutney’ (UK)
Luci Gorrel Barnes presents ‘The Tragic and Disturbing tale of Little Lupin (UK)

The ZEPA Network an INTEREG Funded partnership.
“Zone European de Projets Artistique”

ZEPA is an exciting innovative Trans-National partnership between five UK and four French Street Theatre and Outdoor Arts Producers and Festivals with whom Hat Fair will be working with over the next three years to produce, commission

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

We hope 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  Le Forneau - Brest

This year’s ZEPA artists at Hat Fair are:

Les Trois Points de Suspension (FRA)
Acid Kostik present ‘Step Right Up’ (FRA)
VO Compagnie present ‘The Cleaner Wind’ (FRA)

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. There will be lots of tasty food during Saturday evening, a perfect addition to the feast of entertainment that will also be on offer.

Sunday 4 July 2010

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, as well as a full programme of wonder and excitement.

See the Hat Fair website for more up to date information –
Also see for more information about this new International partnership, and or more information about the Without Walls partnership.

Hat Fair Schedule of Events

Friday 2 July:
10.30 – 17.00 Hat Fair Kicks Off with the Children’s parade
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 a registered charity number 00400059.

For further press information, interviews and digital images please contact:, or 07957 110 655

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