Top student performing talent vies for the 'Top Hat' at Hat Fair 2019

28 Jun 2019

University of Winchester Performing Arts students are set to compete in the Top Hat competition at this year's Hat Fair (5-7 July), presenting new outdoor festival pieces which will be judged by a public vote.

Three undergraduate students are performing in the city's famous festival of outdoor arts for a chance to return as one of the official acts in 2020, with personal mentoring and guidance from Hat Fair Director Andrew Loretto over the next year.

Those taking part and their performances are:

Jacob Hulland
The Flat-Footed Dyslexic, Middle-Aged Teenager
A show about the adventures of a middle-aged teenager.

Eighteen-year-old Jacob Hulland leaves Wiltshire and arrives at uni, only to find that he is anything but a 'normal' student. As he begins to look for the meaning of life, the univers(ity) and everything, he makes the startling discovery that he is flat-footed, officially dyslexic and the only sober one on his course. He has indeed entered a dark new world..... Hampshire!!

David Flanagan - Liminal Spaces
Stories in Stone
Stories in Stone draws on memories of the city from residents as well as the performers to create a tapestry of lived experiences tied together by the architecture of Winchester.

Lottie Clist
Almost three quarters of elderly people in the UK are lonely and more than half of those have never spoken to anyone about how they feel. Inspired by Japanese 'Bunraku' puppetry, 36% seeks to raise awareness of the issue of loneliness in old age.

All three performances will take place in Parchment Street at 12-1pm, 2-3pm and 4-5pm on Saturday 6 July.

Professor Alec Charles, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, said: "I love the Hat Fair - its warmth, joy, diversity and raw energy - and the sheer quality of its international talent. It's brilliant for our students to be so much part of one of Britain's most exciting arts events."

Last year's winner, Drama graduate Martin Jakeman, won the first-ever Top Hat competition with a piece called Martin Jakeman Presents Hamalot!, a pantomime style re-working of Shakespeare's Hamlet. He returns to the festival this year with Home Fires, an immersive experience about the lives of men, women and children in Hampshire on VE Day, when Germany surrendered, marking the end of the Second World War. Home Fires is performed at 12pm, 1.30pm, 2.30pm and 4pm on Saturday 6 July on St John's Lawn. Martin's Hat Fair show has received significant support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

University of Winchester student dance company D@win is also performing at the Hat Fair alongside performers from Blue Apple in a dance theatre performance inspired by the traditional folk tale Hansel and Gretel. Their performance takes place at the Broadway at 3pm on Saturday 6 July.

The full Hat Fair 2019 programme is available online here.

Photo on landing page: courtesy Hat Fair

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