The 2013 programme for the UK’s longest-running festival of outdoor arts has just been announced: Hat Fair, now in its 39th year, features events to fire the imaginations of visitors of all ages.
The line-up of performances and acts ranges from theatre for the under 5s to ‘Hidden Hat Fair’s’ intimate and sophisticated performances in unexpected and special locations. On Friday 05 and Saturday 06 July, Hat Fair takes over Winchester’s ancient city centre and Cathedral grounds, moving to Oram’s Arbour, a park on the west side of the city, on Sunday 07.
Says Kate Hazel, Artistic Director of Hat Fair, “We, and our new colleagues from the long-established Theatre Royal Winchester, have had great fun this year discovering shows that will appeal to a range of different ages and inviting them to Winchester for our exciting summer weekend. We are also exploring – with more than a nod to our great British summer – spaces that will provide intriguing wet weather alternatives to give our audiences the best possible experience.”
For 2013, Hat Fair’s highlights include outdoor theatre specialists Rag & Bone’s brilliant new show Boneyard Tales on The Broadway, a rare appearance in the UK from French sculptor Denis Tricot creating a delightful illuminated walk along Weirs Walk, a breath-taking sound installation from Oxford based sound artist, Ray Lee in Cathedral Inner Close, and two spectacular shows outside the Great Hall: Bad Taste Company's unique version of Faust and Belgian circus artists Collectif Malunés’ Sens Dessus Dessous.
For adults with a taste for adventurous culture, the ‘Hidden Hat Fair’ strand provides a perfect treat across the weekend with a handful of intimate (ticketed) shows in unexpected locations: Mercurial Wrestler’s delicious magical mystery Magna Mysteria will guide its audiences across the city, Platform 4’s poignant Memory Points will show the Theatre Royal in a whole new light and Pony Dance's raucous Edinburgh hit Where Did it all Go Right? will take over Bar 3One.
On Saturday, Winchester will be a whirling mix of dance and sounds as events for all ages include new performances by Motionhouse Dance, Joli Vyann and Candoco at the Great Hall and the Law Courts. Look out also for Argentine tango band Violent Tango teaching and performing that most grown up of dances, plus a silent disco as headphone wearing music fans dance to a variety of DJs in apparent silence on The Broadway. The Broadway will also host a selection of the best up and coming bands programmed in partnership with The Railway.
10-14yr olds and their families are literally catered for in the High Tea and Comedy Tent in Abbey Gardens, providing just that for its audiences – an afternoon of comedy with improvisation masters Instant Wit, accompanied by high tea served with a smattering of colourful characters.
The terrace outside Winchester’s Discovery Centre will be transformed into a magic garden, safe for little ones from 0-5 with stories, things to do and an enchanting show by Commotion Dance, specially commissioned for Hat Fair by the Small Wonders consortium. Shoofly Theatre will also be appearing on the Theatre Royal stage with their new show You're Not My Friend Anymore. Both the Discovery Centre and the adjacent Theatre Royal will be available as wet weather alternatives.
Hat Fair 2013 will continue to offer a wide variety of performance for all ages and tastes – from families to teenagers and parents to grandparents there is something that will appeal. The event will also see the launch of a new 'festival within a festival' Le Fete Franglais, a mini Franco/Anglo event that celebrates the relationship with our friends on the other side of the channel. Look out for a number of specially selected shows across the city including the inimitable Wet Picnic, Ramshacklicious and Makadam Kanibal in Cathedral Outer Close, Collectif Malunés outside The Great Hall and Denis Tricot at Weirs Walk....