A BRAND new show has been created to coincide with Bridport's unique, annual Hat Festival in September.

Hester Goodman, an award-winning performer from Bridport who is also a long-serving member of the Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain, has teamed up with artist Matthew Robins to present Requiem for the Hatters at The Lyric Theatre.

Mercury poisoning was common amongst hat makers in the 17th and 18th centuries, with drastic mood swings and St Vitus' Dance two of the many symptoms. When a collection of love letters, diaries and trinkets is discovered half-buried in a box on a beach, a story is gradually pieced together of two people's journey through shyness into madness. With films, stories, and songs about hats, milkmaids and winged messengers, Requiem for the Hatters is a show not to be missed.

Matthew Robins is a musician and filmmaker extraordinaire, known locally for his wonderful alternative festive shows featuring the adventures of Fly Boy and friends. His shows have been performed nationally at venues including The Barbican and Tate Modern, as well as The Lyric Theatre.

Hester Goodman may be remembered for playing the starring role of Madame Celine in Bridport's community theatre production FLEA! back in 2017. She has also worked with Irish dancing cabaret and theatre company, The Hairy Marys, as well as writing and performing her own shows.

Bridport's Hat Festival has been a staple of the town's summer entertainment for several years. It is a volunteer-run celebration of hats, a fundraiser for head-related charities, and a giant party to mark the end of the season. The most quirky and inventive headgear is glorified alongside live music, competitions and demonstrations, as well as games, a hat auction, and even hatted dogs.

Other events taking place include performances by a jazz band trio and a dynamic dance group, a vintage tea party, and a children's storytelling session. The full programme, as well as details of venues, is available online.

2019 will see the Hat Festival continue to support Brain Tumour Research, a charity working to build the UK's largest network of experts in sustainable brain tumour research and campaign for more investment nationally, as just 1% of the national spend on cancer research is allocated to this devastating disease. For more information about the work the charity do, visit www.braintumourresearch.org

Requiem for the Hatters will be performed at The Lyric on Sunday, September 8, at 7pm.

Tickets are £12 for adults or £5 for under-18s, available from the Bridport Tourist Information Centre and BearKat Café in Barrack Street, or by visiting www.bridportandwestbay.co.uk/tickets.