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Businesses enjoy Backstage Breakfast

We were thrilled to welcome businesses from across Winchester city centre and district to our Backstage Breakfast in May, to mark the launch of this year’s Hat Fair, which this summer celebrates its 50th birthday!

Meet and greet

Individuals gathered at Theatre Royal Winchester to meet and chat with the Hat Fair team, to learn more about this summer’s festival programme and how they can support the event this year and in the future.

A breakfast was provided by the award-winning The Little Kitchen Company, based in Winnall – who cooked up fresh eggs and bacon rolls, in the theatre’s Atrium, which were thoroughly enjoyed with teas, coffee and fruit.

"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"

Becca Moore, Fundraising Manager, Play to the Crowd

A talk and a tour

Our Chief Executive, Deryck Newland, then invited everyone into the auditorium where he spoke passionately about the importance of accessibility to the arts and culture in our community and impressed upon businesses the need for us 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 some 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 unique ability to draw in, engage with and entertain a crowd. He also championed Play to the Crowd’s youth theatre and local talent who will perform at the festival.

Finally, our Fundraising Manager, Becca Moore, encouraged businesses to get involved and help support our charity and the festival – from rolling up their sleeves and lending a hand as a volunteer at Hat Fair to becoming the festival’s Strategic Partner; and for more information and to express interest, businesses and individuals are welcome to email

Following the messages, individuals were welcomed to join a backstage tour of the theatre, including the dressing rooms and the fly tower.

A massive thank you

‘A big thank you as well to all those who have already expressed an interest in getting involved this year,' says our Fundraising Manager, Becca Moore. '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!’

A huge thank you to everyone who was able to join us for our Backstage Breakfast and on one of our theatre tours and who made generous donations raising £106.25 for Play to the Crowd – the arts and education charity responsible for Theatre Royal Winchester, Hat Fair and Playmakers.