Ear Trumpet

2015 Festival Programme Announced

Michelle Walker (Artistic Director) introduces the 2015 Hat Fair programme

It’s been a very fast and furious five months since starting work at Hat Fair in January and I’m delighted that we’re now ready to unveil the full programme for the 2015 festival.

The whole team has worked tremendously hard, and we’ve been reminded time and time again during the process of putting Hat Fair together what a fantastic city it is that we work in: we ask some fairly big favours of all sorts of people in Winchester and we’re so lucky that so many of them say yes.

I think the best word to describe the festival this year is ‘playful’: the programme is our invitation to you to join us in the streets and come out to play. Hundreds of people will be swing-dancing the city into life at 12 noon on Saturday; the very best street performers from all over the world will be astonishing you with their theatrics; an imaginative selection of walkabout acts will be popping up on every corner; and each evening will finish with some high octane performances by really exciting artists like Southpaw Dance, Gandini Juggling and Co.LABse who brought us The Wandering Orquestra in 2014. There’s room for some quieter, contemplative experiences too amidst the hustle and bustle – those wanting to escape the crowds for a few magical moments should check out Track on the North Walls Recreation Ground, or book themselves into the mobile library bus for a hushed, interactive hour with The Quiet Volume, or perhaps pick up an Ear Trumpet and become sonic investigators, or peek into the ethereal evening beehives in the Cathedral Outer Close.

I hope that, whether you’re a first time visitor to Hat Fair or a well-seasoned regular, you find something in the programme to surprise and delight you. The weekend has been designed to offer everybody a few very special, transformative moments, as well as a whole lot of fun. If it’s all a bit bewildering (there are something in the region of 224 shows or activities in the jam-packed 3 days after all!), then do have a look at our online Audience Guides which are tailored to help you find the shows and activities that are most up your street – pardon the pun… Culture Vultures, Festival First-Timers, Family Fun, Thrill Seekers and Mad Hatters should all find something that’s just right for them. And if you’re still spoilt for choice, do feel free to drop me a line on michelle@hatfair.co.uk

Particular ‘thank yous’ this year must go to Stagecoach, for letting us take over the back of the bus station for our Saturday night gypsy-inspired fairground spectacular, Carousel; to Southwest Trains, for letting us commission a brand new pop-up theatre show outside the railway station so that visitors to the city will be immersed in the Hat Fair spirit as soon as they arrive; to the Guildhall, who are letting us borrow their building on Friday evening for a rather unusual ‘restaurant opening’ with Table For Two; to the Cathedral, for letting us populate their grounds with all sorts of weird and wonderful activities; to the Great Hall for hosting our stunning contemporary dance programme and Slung Low’s wonderful Knowledge Emporium; to the University of Winchester for sponsoring the first ever Hat Fair Fringe Festival which gives a platform to the next generation of talented performers; to the many independent local businesses who’ve got stuck in and helped us reach even more corners of the city this year than ever before; and of course to all our funders, supporters and volunteers, without whom none of it would be possible.

Have a very happy festival, kick up your heels, be curious, and enjoy the unexpected – you’re in for a treat!