Play to the Crowd announces new strategic partnership with Kuoni Travel

Play to the Crowd announces new strategic partnership with Kuoni Travel

Image, left to right: Hat Fair and Playmakers Director Andrew Loretto, Paul Hermann, Manager of Kuoni’s Winchester store, and Communications and Development Director Kirstie Mathieson
Play to the Crowd – the arts and education charity that runs Theatre Royal Winchester, Hat Fair and Playmakers – announces Kuoni Travel as Strategic Partner of Hat Fair 2024.

The company is celebrating Hat Fair’s 50th birthday in style by supporting Play to the Crowd’s mission to delight and unite our community through the power of live performance, making Winchester a vibrant city in which to live, work and play.

As part of this one-year agreement, the worldwide travel brand has donated an exclusive prize holiday to the Maldives, which Play to the Crowd audiences will be in with a chance of winning by entering a Charity Prize Draw.

The holiday to the island of Kuramathi consists of seven nights’ full board accommodation for two people staying in an idyllic beach bungalow; meals at an allocated restaurant; and complimentary return speedboat transfers from Male’ International Airport.

The charity hopes the Prize Draw will raise awareness of the many challenges faced by people in our community, including poor mental health and wellbeing, isolation and loneliness, dwindling creativity in education and limited access to the arts. Every entry made to support Play to the Crowd will ensure that culture and creativity thrives in our community with equal opportunities for everyone.

Play to the Crowd’s Crowdfunder UK Prize Draw will go live on the first day of Hat Fair – Friday 05 July at 8am – and people can enter online by visiting, where there is further information as well as terms and conditions. Alternatively, people can enter by visiting the Kuoni store on Winchester High Street or Hat Fair info points on The Broadway and in the Cathedral Close over the festival weekend.

Andrew Loretto, Hat Fair and Playmakers Director, said: ‘We’re so excited to have Kuoni on board for Hat Fair’s 50th Birthday year! We are proud to showcase a wide range of international visiting artists every year at Hat Fair so it feels very right to have a global travel brand join us in celebrating that element of the festival – especially when so many local festival-goers often don’t realise that Hat Fair is one of the most important festivals of its kind on the world stage.”

Kirstie Mathieson, Communications and Development Director of Play to the Crowd, said: “The funding climate for creativity and culture, both nationally and internationally, remains very challenging. With support from partners like Kuoni, Play to the Crowd is able to stage a free Outdoor Arts festival that embraces diversity, joy, community and performance in the very special streets, parks and spaces of Winchester city centre. We couldn’t be more grateful to the Kuoni team for their amazing support.”

Kuoni Winchester Store Manager, Paul Hermann, said: ‘Kuoni is thrilled to announce our partnership with Play to the Crowd, and to be collaborating on Hat Fair, celebrating its 50th year. Working alongside Kuramathi Maldives, we have contributed a prize to support Play to the Crowd’s charity fundraising efforts and we are honoured to be part of this impactful initiative.’

The UK’s longest running festival of Outdoor Arts is back in Winchester city centre from Friday 5 – Sunday 7 July 2024 – and this year is extra special as it celebrates its 50th birthday!

Hat Fair began in 1974 and to celebrate this landmark birthday, there will be yet more bright and bold street theatre, circus, music, dance and more – everything you’ve come to expect from this much-loved festival. Plus, some familiar faces will be returning so watch this space; there’ll be more national and international acts showcasing the very best in Outdoor Arts; performances from local community groups and young talent; and the Hat Fair Carnival.

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