Woolly Hat Fair 2016 please credit Stephen Cook (2) (1) 1000 x 600x

Woolly Hat Fair Returns!

This year’s Woolly Hat Fair, entitled Fondly Imagined Christmases, starts tonight, Thursday 30 November at 5.30pm.

The mini festival features a series of short pop-up outdoor performances and visual art installations across Winchester city centre this Christmas season. Hear a range of heart-warming stories about Fondly Imagined Christmases based on local people and places, hear songs from local choirs and enjoy festive refreshments.

Events are FREE to attend. The festival has been made possible through funding from the Big Lottery Fund and Winchester City Council as well as support from Winchester School of Art and from sponsors Shentons Solicitors, Newbury Building Society, Dutton Gregory, Stowe Family Law, Jude’s Ice Cream and The Chesil Rectory.

The festival kicks off in style on Thursday 30 November at 5.30pm on the Winchester Discovery Centre Terrace as Winchester People’s Theatre, Blue Apple Theatre and Young Theatre Royal Musical Theatre Group present a unique promenade performance inspired by unforgettable moments of Christmases past in Stocking Filler. There may well also be a guest appearance from some of the cast of Theatre Royal Winchester’s panto Peter Pan!

Ever wondered what lawyers do at Christmas? Legally Christmas is a comical Christmas court case like no other taking place at Shentons Solicitors on Staple Gardens (Friday 1 and Friday 8 December). Advance booking required for this event.

Everyone is invited to a party at Newbury Building Society on the High Street on Saturday 2 & Saturday 9 December. Neighbourhood family, the Newburys are throwing a Christmas party – pop round to their magical winter wonderland for some festive games and seasonal customs in A Very Neighbourly Christmas.

On Friday 15 & Friday 22 December Woolly Hatters can meet the Christmas Lighthouse-Keeper who helps to guide lost travellers home for Christmas. She’s forgotten how long she’s kept her beacon shining in the dark ocean of winter but remembers every lost traveller’s tale. Refreshments will be available after at Winchester School of Art Café. This event is sponsored by Dutton Gregory.

Video installations of Winchester’s most colourful characters with decades to share will be shown at a walk through exhibition of Living Portraits at The United Church on Saturday 16 December from 4pm – 7pm. Winchester based artist, Lucy McLoughlin’s series of uplifting portraits capturing older people in our community will also be on show.

In the Cathedral Outer Close Celestial Sound Cloud: Sounds Like Christmas will be lighting up the sky on Wednesday 20 and Thursday 21 December. Look up and hear the sound of Christmases far, far away.

Woolly Hat Fair has been written by Richard Hurford and directed by Andrew Loretto. A troupe of actors; Craig Chalmers, Carri Munn and Charlie Richards bring the stories to life. Local community choirs including Winchester Musicals and Opera Society, Winchester Community Choir add a touch of festive music to the occasions and window art installations have been designed and created by Kate Sully and a team of artists from Winchester School of Art.

All events are free to attend. Advance booking required for Legally Christmas. Don’t forget dress for the weather!

Woolly Hat Fair is organised by Hat Fair, the UK’s longest running Outdoor Arts festival which takes place annually in Winchester during the first weekend in July. Full details of Woolly Hat Fair’s Fondly Imagined Christmases can be found at https://hatfair.co.uk/fondly-imagined-christmases