Hat Fair – the UK’s longest running festival of Outdoor Arts – has announced the winner of this year’s Top Hat Competition.
On Saturday (6 July), Lottie Clist won the public vote after competing against Jacob Hulland and David Flanagan in the contest that sees past and present students, from the University of Winchester, performing to win the chance to be mentored by Hat Fair Director, Andrew Loretto, to develop a new show to be performed at Hat Fair next year.
Lottie Clist, and one other, controlled a puppet that represented an ageing being. 36% focused on how almost three-quarters of elderly people in the UK are lonely and explored themes of old age, isolation and loneliness; and their impact on our mental and physical health.
I feel over the moon about winning the Top Hat Competition and humbled that the audiences felt connected to and understood 36%. It is a gentle reminder to look out for each other.
Being part of Hat Fair 2019 has been a wonderful experience and I have felt supported and encouraged by Andrew (Loretto, Hat Fair Director), and Kat (Henderson, Live Theatre Winchester Trust’s Engagement Producer). I would also like to thank Kerryanne Hewlett, fellow puppeteer and Drama student from the University of Winchester. We are looking forward to creating a challenging and thought-provoking new piece for Hat Fair 2020. Watch this space!
The runners-up were Jacob Hulland and David Flanagan.
Jacob’s The Dyslexic, Flat-Footed, Middle-Aged Teenager told the story of a teenager who leaves Wiltshire for university – only to find he is anything but ‘normal’. Flat-footed, dyslexic, and the only sober one on his course, he has entered a dark new world – Hampshire!
While David performed a piece called Stories in Stone, exploring Winchester’s history and the memories that residents and performers have of the city. It was a light-hearted, fun mix of lived experiences connected by the city’s stunning architecture.
The winner of last year’s Top Hat Competition, Martin Jakeman, has developed over the last year Home Fires, a piece inspired by stories of women and children who lived in the area during the Second World War. Martin hosted this immersive experience on St John’s Almshouses Lawn.
Photo: (L to R) – Kat Henderson (Live Theatre Winchester Trust’s Engagement Producer), runners up Jacob Hulland and David Flanagan, Kerryanne Hewlett (36% puppeteer), Lottie Clist (Top Hat Competition winner with 36%), Cara Lucas (Top Hat Co-Producer Placement), Andrew Loretto (Hat Fair Director)
1. (L to R) – Lottie Clist, Kerryanne Hewlett, Andrew Loretto
2. (L to R) – Lottie Clist, Kat Henderson, Kerryanne Hewlett