WINCHESTER's biggest arts fair has announced its new director.

Hat Fair will be run by Andrew Loretto, who starts on May 2.

Andrew is currently director of Right Up Our Street, which creates high quality arts projects and outdoor festivals in Doncaster.

Hat Fair has presented an annual summer festival of outdoor arts in Winchester for more than 40 years and has expanded to put on activities all year round such as Woolly Hat Fair in December.

Andrew said: “Hat Fair is a unique festival in a unique and historic city. I’m very excited by the playful relationship between the festival, its environment and the people of Winchester and Hampshire.”

The news follows the announcement that Hat Fair has received a £75,000 grant to deliver a programme celebrating older people.

Andrew will be implementing the Celebrating Age project for which Hat Fair was awarded the funding by Arts Council England and the Baring Foundation.

The money will enable Hat Fair to tour last year's production of Four Score Years And Ten, which featured the lives of some of Winchester’s 90-year-olds.

Deryck Newland, chief Executive of Live Theatre Winchester Trust said: "Andrew is an experienced and inventive creative producer and I look forward to him continuing the reputation of Hat Fair as a high quality, quirky Festival full of fun and surprises."

Andrew added: “Having worked in the outdoor theatre sector all over the UK, I know it often reaches audiences that might not engage in venue-based live theatre.

“My work has always been rooted in high quality artists, community and location so I’m looking forward to exploring the exciting possibilities that Winchester has to offer.”

The current artistic director of Hat Fair Michelle Walker leaves on March 10 to take up the post of executive director at Greenwich and Docklands International Festival.