A crowd at a street carnival in Wigan.
Hi! Street Fest parade in King Street, Wigan. © Josh Cadogan.
Hi! Street Fest parade in King Street, Wigan. © Josh Cadogan.

Seven giant puppets visit Woolwich for Hi! Street Fest finale celebration

Featuring 400 flags, 300 dancers, over half a mile of knitted bunting and one giant fox called Farrah, Hi! Street Fest has been taking high streets across England by storm this summer. Now, Farrah and Hi! Street Fest returns to Woolwich, Farrah’s hometown, for a spectacular finale event featuring every puppet Farrah has met on her journey from Lowestoft, to Gosport, to Stalybridge.

Created in partnership with Emergency Exit Arts, these free street parties have celebrated high streets around England with over 60,000 people taking part so far. Giant fox puppet Farrah, designed by puppeteer Tony Mason, has travelled the country to see how high streets are adapting and curiously explored what makes high streets so special.

Farrah has met six different largescale puppets created by each community in collaboration with puppet makers Thingumajig Theatre and has been welcomed by processions of dancers, drummers, musicians and many people of all ages wearing fox masks.

Over 5,000 local volunteers have come together across Lowestoft, Gloucester, Wigan, Gosport, Middlesbrough and Stalybridge high streets to put on Hi! Street Fest. These vibrant celebrations, led by Artistic Director Manuela Benini, will now culminate in Woolwich.


Hi! Street Fest has been visiting high streets up and down the country this summer.

Hi! Street Fest Woolwich on 22 September

In Woolwich, local communities will come together to represent the culture of Woolwich high street. Audiences can expect to see performances from local dancers, samba drummers, flag bearers, artists and community groups. Local people will carry lanterns inspired by the high street that have been created with the community and local schools over the summer. The streets will be filled with music and dance by a newly developed samba troupe, curated by local organisation Taru Arts.

Farrah will parade through Woolwich meeting the puppets from each Hi! Street Fest at different locations ending in a final meet up of all the puppets for a spectacular performance including music, spoken word, dance and pyrotechnics in General Gordon Square.

Each puppet joining the procession represents and celebrates the individuality of their own high street and has already welcomed Farrah to their towns to learn about the heritage of each location. This will be the only opportunity for the public to see all six puppets and Farrah at one event.

Free Which Woolwich Stories tours will take place throughout the afternoon. Curated by Emergency Exit Arts and local artists as part of the High Street Heritage Action Zone, local tour guides showcase the art, community and culture of Woolwich through a cultural trail lasting around 1 hour.

We could not have hoped for a better reception for Farrah the Fox and Hi! Street Fest this summer. Each event has been full of energy and a true representation of what makes our high streets so special. Farrah has celebrated with communities and their puppets in each location, and now, for one time only, they all come together for this fantastic finale event.
Ellen Harrison, Head of Creative Programmes and Campaigns Historic England
We are so pleased with Farrah’s reception at each high street across the country. Over the summer she has seen for herself the impact on high streets when communities come together in joint creative endeavour. It has been truly wonderful. Farrah has become a symbol for high street regeneration and the people locally who can help make that happen. She hopes to continue visiting England’s high streets for many years to come inspiring communities to come together to help make their high street an even better place to visit.
Daniel Bernstein, CEO Emergency Exit Arts

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