Hat Fair, the UK’s longest running festival of Outdoor Arts, will be filling the streets of Winchester with street artists, singers, dancers, circus acts and theatre groups this weekend.
Celebrating 45 years this summer, the festival is set to host acts from across the region as well as international performers.
It starts on Friday with Hat Fair’s ‘Fabulous’ Carnival, when hundreds of school-children will leave The Great Hall in brightly coloured costumes they have made for the event. This will be followed by Thingumajig Theatre’s Ghost Caribou: two giant puppets, part caribou/part spirit.
Watch performers carry out daring moves across a forest of poles as Motionhouse return with a new piece, co-commissioned by Hat Fair, called WILD. Enjoy Tickertape Parade’s Fantabulosa! with interactive storytelling, lip-sync, dress-up, games and song, and explore who you want to be. Then, on Saturday night, get involved with a giant ceilidh hosted by Folk Dance Remixed.
Hat Fair is so-called due to the tradition of street artists busking or ‘hatting’ after their show. International hatters to look out for over the three days include Spain’s experimental juggler, Grumpy Pants; energetic dancer, BBoy illwill (USA); and Australian contortionists, The Maids. Also, festival favourites, Barada Street and Street Comedy will return with acrobatics, comedy and live music.
This year’s festival programme will also include a UK premiere of Money for Free by John Fisherman, from Spain. He will be inviting the public to think about capitalism, society and money, in a game that will explore to what extent the audience is aware of society’s ability to work as a team to make decisions and empower themselves.
There will be plenty of local talent across the weekend, including Marwell Zoo Choir; puppetry from Blue Apple, which supports performers with disabilities; and dance from Prince’s Mead School Dance Squad. The public can also play a street piano and keen singers are welcome to join Hat Fair’s Flashmob Choir.
Young audiences can enjoy Magic Glen, arts and crafts, and learning to juggle. St John’s Almshouses Lawn meanwhile, will provide a calm space for older audiences with free tea, coffee and cake. There will also be mini-golf, a fun fair, an escape room, food, drink and gift stalls.
Performances, activities and installations will take place throughout the city centre on Friday and Saturday, with the festivities moving to North Walls Recreation Ground on Sunday.
When: 5th – 7th July 2019
Where: Winchester, Hampshire
More info: hatfair.co.uk/festival