THREE extra eye-catching evening shows have been added to the bill for this year’s Hat Fair.

Running in Winchester from Friday, July 6 to Sunday, July 8, organisers are putting on a big performance each night.

There will still be plenty of street theatre in the daytime as usual, but the 2012 event aims to offer something extra.

On the Friday evening, Dutch performers Close Act will bring their anarchic new show, Invasion, to the city’s streets.

Then on Saturday, French company Generik Vapeur will present their show, Waterlitz. Expect fireworks and eye-catching displays centred on a giant arrangement of shipping containers.

Breaking with tradition, there will also be an evening show on the final day. Previous Hat Fairs have usually ended with a picnic at Oram’s Arbour on Sunday afternoon.

The picnic will still go ahead, but on Sunday evening at the River Park playing fields, the Square Peg Circus will present Rime. It is based on Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s, Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

It is a haunting tale of guilt, cruelty and the fate of the undead crew told by combining acrobatics, human towers, sea shanties and stories.

Hat Fair artistic director Kate Hazel said: “Giving the Hat Fair three big performance nights is a brave new step for us and one we’re very excited about.

“Each of these shows brings size, beauty, incredible skill and artistic talent, leading the Hat Fair on to what we hope will be bigger and better things in the years ahead.”

The Hat Fair was first held in 1974 and is now Britain’s longest-running street theatre festival.

Organisers expect up to 50,000 people to watch some of the countless shows that will be taking place.

One of the more unusual ones will be Sailing On from Shady Jane in the ladies toilets in St John’s House in The Broadway.

The event is funded by the Arts Council, ZEPA (European Zone of Artistic Projects), Winchester City Council and Winchester Business Improvement District. For more details visit or call 01962 849841.