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Hat Fair is coming!

Anticipation for Hat Fair 2021 is brewing after performers took to the streets of Winchester on Friday (28 May) to entertain and drum up support for the event that is back this July.

Residents of Winchester were treated to walkabouts by giant squirrels and ducks, and stilted entertainers - five weeks before the return of the festival, which hosts the very best international, national and local theatre, dance, circus and music acts.

man taking photo

Curtains were ruffled and front doors opened as adults and children came to see what was going on in Winnall; Stanmore; and Hyde.

Everyone seems more excited than usual about the festival's return as last summer we had to cancel due to the Covid-19 pandemic (like many other large events). Our team is delighted to be back together too, to welcome talent and festival-goers to the city.

These walkabout acts were funded by the UK government's Culture Recovery Fund. 

children taking selfies

Hat Fair - which will celebrate 46 years this year (last year doesn't count!) - will run from Friday 02 - Sunday 04 July, and will include bright and colourful, impressive and thought-provoking acts that will have you looking up in wonder, laughing out loud and open-mouthed and once again bring joy to the city with others - as if months of lockdowns and solitude never happened (hopefully)!

Hat Fair saw record-breaking audiences (96,714 attendances) in 2019. The festival, which takes its name from the tradition of those watching the show putting money in a performer's hat at the end, will this year take place at North Walls Recreation Ground and in Winchester School of Art's car park; and will be socially distanced and ticketed - so rather than audiences throwing money (and potentially germs) in to a hat, hatters will be paid a fee from the ticket money raised from the tickets.

people is costume at bus stop

Tickets are now on sale. You can get tickets online, or call Theatre Royal Winchester's Box Office on 01962 840440 or pop in Tuesdays-Saturdays, from 10am-1pm. All money raised will go towards supporting Play to the Crowd - the charity responsible for Theatre Royal Winchester, Hat Fair, and Playmakers - and the performers.

Photos by Adrienne Photography