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Long term collaboration with University of Winchester

Play to the Crowd is excited to announce University of Winchester as our charity’s Investing Partner. This headline partnership will continue our longstanding collaboration with the University to create the very best artistic opportunities for students.

The partnership promotes the inclusion of student productions in our artistic programmes at Theatre Royal Winchester and Hat Fair. Together we create opportunities for students studying Performing Arts, Creative Writing and Film Production.

This season, the University’s Faculty of Arts and Theatre Royal Winchester (in collaboration with Hampshire Writers’ Society and the Winchester Writers’ Festival) will present Two Hundred Years of Autumn - a literary celebration of the bicentenary of John Keat’s famously fruitful sojourn in Winchester and his composition, in September 1819, of his immortal Ode to Autumn. Theatre Royal Winchester will also host HalloWeenchester – a spooky story-telling from the University’s creative writing students, performed on Halloween in our newly refurbished Cafe Bar.

Again this year, Hat Fair will invite past and present students from the University of Winchester to take part in its Top Hat competition. Current students and recent graduates of the University are asked to submit ideas for outdoor performances. The three chosen applicants then take part in workshops to develop these ideas, ready to perform at Hat Fair, and for a public vote. The act with the most votes wins a year of mentoring from Hat Fair Director, Andrew Loretto, and the chance to develop a brand new show for the following year’s festival. This year’s winner was: Lottie Clist, with a piece called 36% - featuring a puppet resembling an older being, and focusing on old age, isolation, and its impact on a person’s mental and physical health.

“We believe this partnership offers a major boost to the cultural and educational life of the city.”

Deryck Newland, Chief Executive of Play to the Crowd

Both organisations are very proud to be located in the heart of a city with a rich history and thriving arts and creative industries. We have been co-operating on smaller projects for a number of years, and in early 2018 we were thrilled to formalise a longer term partnership. Now, as we refresh our charity’s identity as Play to the Crowd, we are delighted to name the University as our sole Investing Partner, reinforcing our already positive and fruitful relationship.

The University also welcomes the benefits that this partnership brings to local theatre audiences and arts students alike. Dean of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Winchester, Professor Alec Charles, commented: “This is a really exciting development for everyone involved. We continue to look forward to working with our friends and colleagues at Theatre Royal Winchester and Hat Fair to develop great productions for Winchester’s audiences.”

“This is a fantastic opportunity for our two organisations to bring out the full potential of our shared energies, achievements and aspirations in the arts.”

Professor Joy Carter, Vice Chancellor of University of Winchester