Hat Fair 2019

Call out for older people to take part in Playmakers’ Hat Fair project

Playmakers – the charity Play to the Crowd’s youth and community engagement – are excited to announce a project they are working on for Hat Fair – the UK’s longest running festival of Outdoor Arts – which will involve young people and older generations.

The piece of autobiographical theatre will be inspired by the lives of Playmakers’ Youth Theatre members and older people – and will be performed at Hat Fair, on Saturday 4 July, near St John’s almshouses, in the city centre.

Next month Playmakers’ Youth and Community Co-ordinator Chanele Sillince – who will direct the piece of theatre – will start working on it with the young people – but she is still looking for several older people to take part and asks anyone interested in the project to drop in to Theatre Royal Winchester’s Cafe Bar on (CANCELLED -Wednesday 18 March, from 10am – 11.30am)  to chat to her about it and/or email her at chanele@playtothecrowd.co.uk by Friday 20 March. Individuals are welcome to engage with the project through conversation and sharing their stories; performing in the piece; or both.

The piece of theatre will be written by Richard Hurford, who wrote and co-directed Hat Fair 2018’s Recycled Silent Movie – a film that told residents’ stories, including looking at cherished moments like getting married and having a baby, and was combined with archive footage of key events.

The film formed part of Hat Fair’s Celebrating Age Project – a two year programme of arts activity for, and about, older people. The same year the film was showcased, Richard was part of a team that carried out a series of consultations with older people aged 60 – 92 that discovered they want to create performance work – including work that will help them share their stories with younger people.

This current piece of theatre being prepared for this year’s Hat Fair hopes to respond to that request and is inspired by a project that Playmakers’ Youth Theatre worked on last summer, which explored how members would like to leave their mark, as well as important moments within a lifetime. It was overseen by Chanele, who recognised it complimented what the older people at the consultations had said they wanted to do, and subject matter they wanted to explore with young people.

Chanele – who will be directing the piece of autobiographical theatre for Hat Fair – said:

I’m really excited to begin work on this special project next month and am really intrigued about the unexpected similarities and differences, in the lives of both young and older groups, that we might find. It’s just such a great and unique opportunity to see these assumed very different groups of people come together through a mutual and shared love of theatre and performance.

Photo: Hat Fair 2019 Credit Adrienne Photography.

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