Local businesses enjoy Backstage Breakfast

Local businesses enjoy Backstage Breakfast

Play to the Crowd, the arts and education charity that runs Theatre Royal Winchester, Hat Fair and Playmakers, welcomed businesses from across Winchester to a Backstage Breakfast to mark the launch of this year’s Hat Fair – the UK’s longest running festival of Outdoor Arts, which this summer will run from Friday 5 – Sunday 7 July, celebrating its 50th birthday.

Businesses gathered at Theatre Royal Winchester to meet and chat to the Hat Fair team to learn more about this summer’s festival programme and how they can support the event this year and in future – with breakfast rolls provided by the award-winning The Little Kitchen Company, which is based in Winnall.

The charity’s Chief Executive, Deryck Newland, spoke about the importance of accessibility to the arts and culture in the community and impressed upon businesses the need for them and the organisation to work together to build resilience and ensure charities like Play to the Crowd are able to thrive and continue to provide artistic activity for all.

Hat Fair Director, Andrew Loretto, shared highlights from this year’s festival programme including headline act, Fidget Feet’s aerial dance show, House! – a bingo and circus themed spectacle, as well as NoFit State Circus’ BAMBOO – in which highly skilled performers navigate bamboo structures to reveal the fragility and beauty of life on Earth. He celebrated the hatters, from which the festival gets its name, and their ability to draw in and entertain a crowd. He also championed Play to the Crowd’s youth theatre and local talent who will perform at the festival.

Finally, Play to the Crowd’s Fundraising Manager, Becca Moore, encouraged businesses to get involved and help support the charity and the festival – from volunteering at Hat Fair to becoming the festival’s Strategic Partner – with businesses and individuals welcome to email becca@playtothecrowd.co.uk for more information.

After the messages, individuals were welcomed to join a backstage tour of the theatre.

“It was brilliant to see so many new and familiar faces in the theatre and to share all the excitement and celebration coming up at this year’s Hat Fair,” says Becca. “A big thank you as well to all those who have already expressed an interest in getting involved this year. It really is fantastic to know that so many local businesses share our love and enthusiasm for delighting and uniting our community through culture and creativity.

“We just can’t wait for that first weekend in July!”

The charity thanks everyone who was able to attend the Backstage Breakfast and on one of the theatre tours and those who made generous donations raising £106.25 for Play to the Crowd.

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