Youth Theatre at Hat Fair
Playmakers Youth Theatre really came into its own for this year’s Hat Fair with shows from members of all ages and with different performance skills.
They had spent months preparing for the festival with workshops with local creatives and experts in their field, devising story ideas, developing plays and, of course, rehearsing for the main event!
The Drama & Theatre School Years 4-7 group worked with writer and performer Jon Hicks to create their very own sections for his brand-new street theatre show, The Visionary – which sees a street speaker or prophet sow confusion and uncertainty into an audience.
Next, the Drama & Theatre School Years 8-11 group performed a football themed whodunnit – Footy Fatale: A Feminist Murder Mystery. Commissioned by Playmakers, this was a new play written by Anna Harriot, Creative Director of Salisbury’s Tall Tree Theatre, whose show Lily & The Albatross was at Theatre Royal Winchester in late 2019. The show was developed with the group.
The Musical Theatre School Years 4-7 group worked with theatre writers Stephanie Jayne Amies and Teddy Clements on original songs and a modern adaptation of Edith Nesbit’s Five Children & It. With the help of the group, local theatre maker Rebecca Bailey developed a new script for the piece, while choreography came from dance specialist Tegan Gailor.
Amies and Clements also worked with the Musical Theatre School Years 8 – 11 group on a newly devised musical theatre play called Take Me Away – about a much-loved pupil, Charlie, who sees how their family and friends respond when their family decides on a change. The group created the play, with the script by member Sophie Parr, and including songs from other well-known musicals.
The Young Company Ages 16-25 group worked on a play called Grey Area about waiting. Also commissioned by Playmakers, it was a new play by local performance writer Vicky Hancock and was developed with the group. Unfortunately, illness meant that the group could not perform at Hat Fair – but the piece will be presented at a Playmakers event, at a later date.
Lastly, pupils from South Wonston School worked with theatre company Theatre Témoin to produce recordings of them talking about the sea – to accompany the company’s show, FLOOD, which they performed twice on the Saturday of Hat Fair. Festival-goers could listen to the pupils’ stories as they were broadcast from umbrellas given to them to hold prior each performance.
Liam Gifford, Young People's Producer at Play to the Crowd, said: "From site-specific performances in shops, original musical theatre work at North Walls and being key partners in performances by outdoor arts professionals, our Playmakers Youth Theatre presented new work to large audiences and of an exceptional standard. I cannot think of a better way for us all to come together and celebrate the end of our Playmakers Youth Theatre year; a year in which we've embedded our new direction of creating work which participants are the main authors of. We now look forward to our new Playmakers Youth Theatre year kicking off in September when all groups will begin creating original shows for performances at Theatre Royal Winchester and Hat Fair 2023 - check out our dedicated Playmakers Youth Theatre page for more information and to register interest!"
A huge well done to our Youth Theatre members on their hard work and enthusiasm, and a big thank you to the creatives who helped to develop the pieces and support our young people. Congratulations everyone!
"Hat Fair is a celebration of and with our community, so it was a real delight to have been able to have all of our Playmakers Youth Theatre groups performing as part of the main programme this year."