AN AWARD-WINNING performer is bringing a bouncy castle theatrical experience to Winchester’s Hat Fair.

On Sunday July 3, the outdoor arts festival will host Christopher (Kit) Green’s latest creation titled FeelPlay.

The interactive show invites adults to remember how to play again through a 30 minute experience that combines theatre, therapy and a large-scale inflatable playground.

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Lead artist for the production, Chris Green has previously worked for some of the biggest cultural institutions in the UK and had a long-term creative relationship with BBC Radio 4, creating plays and comedy series for broadcast.

The award-winning performer and writer has received praise for their work from high profile celebrities such as Stephen Fry and Sir Ian McKellan who applaud Chris’s comedic intelligence. The non-binary theatre artist encourages audience participation like in their new production FeelPlay.

Chris said: “The theatrical concept within the session is that FeelPlay is a real company that has identified this method of playing with difficult adult emotions by using an adult sized playground. It’s a satire of that kind of wellness industry and the way that the government are quite keen on outsourcing mental health provision to different companies and maybe the provision isn’t quite as high quality as we might want.

“I’m a great advocate of play and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and all these different practices but sometimes you just need to see a doctor. We can’t just offer people five sessions of CBT and hope that fixes them. Sometimes you really need to actually work out what’s going on.

Hampshire Chronicle: FeelPlay coming to Hat Fair, July 3

“Obviously, I’m being deliberately vague and provocative by not saying what happens but I really look forward to seeing people’s faces when they have that realisation. As a theatre maker that’s what you want- when people start to play the game and I love that moment of realisation.

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“I have a role within the fictional organisation as Tony, who is the head psychologist for FeelPlay, so Tony tends to be around, so I sort of perform but I’m not directly performing.”

Hampshire Chronicle: Chris GreenChris Green

Admission to the experience comes at no extra cost but participants are required to sign up on the day. Numbers for the immersive show are limited however, anyone can download the accompanying app and listen to FeelPlay that way.

The fun-filled experience was performed at Brighton Festival in May and will be at Greenwich Festival in late August this year. Chris Green has previously performed their character Ida Barr at Hat Fair, an old lady that does rap songs and artificial hip-hop in an old fashioned style.

Chris added: “I have performed her at Hat Fair and had really great experiences and I’m a big fan of the director, Andrew Loretto and his programming work so it just felt like a really nice fit.

The award-winning creator was approached by outdoor arts company Without Walls, to produce some new theatre back in 2018, with the plan to tour the production in 2020 but the pandemic caused a two-year delay.

Chris said: “We were going to start rehearsals on the day that I got covid and was really sick and so it’s quite different making it two years later. But in a way the idea is probably more relevant now than it was when I first had it.”

After having covid and subsequently developing long covid, to help with their own mental health and reconnect to the idea they had years prior, Chris enlisted the help of a wellbeing practitioner.

Founder of the Artist Wellbeing Company and wellbeing practitioner for FeelPlay Lou Platt, developed her role to help people in the arts with their own mental health struggles.

She said: “I’m very in demand at the moment because the industry is wanting to look after itself a bit more than it used to. Our role, within any production or when we work with venues or organisations is to centralise the wellbeing of those that work hard at creating art.

“I think play is a great way to address mental ill health or mental health problems. I think as adults we are conditioned or not given permission to be playful creatures- it’s okay to be an adult and play. Because it is through play, we learn that process and reflect.”

Hat Fair commences on Friday, July 1 and the FeelPlay production will be there on Sunday, July 3.

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