The Wild Horn Fair Goes Digital

Hastings’ wayward, intoxicatingly colourful Rock Fair took place annually for at least four centuries. It was originally held on the White Rock and later moved to ‘Rock Fair Green’, the area now known as the America Ground or Hastings Trinity Triangle. Rock Fair was finally – thanks to the temperance movement – banned in the late 19th century.

Now, featuring groundbreaking creative technology that incorporates live, 3D painting, projected images, music, and virtual production, we are about to discover where and how the fair will pitch up next. We need more players to join our ragged troupe; will you join us?


Queen Elizabeth II puppet at Hastings Old Town Carnival, MSL
Wild Horn Fair MSL
Queen Elizabeth II puppet at Hastings Old Town Carnival, MSL

Queen Elizabeth II puppet at Hastings Old Town Carnival, MSL

First, some history. We like history. In 2020, writer and collector of stories, Rosanna Lowe, researcher and writer, Julie Gidlow, and producer, Margaret Sheehy, invited others to help them develop a potential new musical The Wild Horn Fair (previously called Rock On, Rock Fair), exploring the history, myth and mystery of fairs and festivities in Hastings and beyond. However, in the spirit of the twisting, ever-moving nature of the travelling fair, the form of the piece has morphed and changed.

In 2021, Rosanna performed a version of The Wild Horn Fair at the Hastings Shipwreck Museum. The show took the form of a dynamic piece of live storytelling with a backdrop of images created by Jane Bruce. Then, in May 2022 MSL collaborated with Barefoot Opera on a commission and performance of a pop-up, flash-mob-style song by composer, Lucy Mulgan, to mark the Queen’s Jubilee, Sun Shall Rise.

Next, MSL collaborated with Hi3 Network, led by London South Bank and Canterbury Christ Church universities, to realise The Wild Horn Fair as a virtual production.


The Wild Horn Fair for MSL Projects
Wild Horn Fair MSL
The Wild Horn Fair, MSL Digital

We wanted more. On June 30 2023, MSL held a dynamic day of discussion at our offices in Hastings, bringing together storytellers, musicians, digital experts and artists. A live demonstration by virtual reality artist, Sean Rodrigo, and production designer, Jane Bruce, showed how 3D painting might be a central plank of the next stage of the project, and there was a sparky, inspirational discussion about where and how the fair might set up camp in the future.

And this is where you come in. We’re especially interested in speaking to those excited about using creative technology to make what they do even more enchanting, who might help us bring myriad stories of Rose, the central character, to a young, digitally literate audience.

We are looking for writers, fine artists, digital wizards, off-beam storytellers, song-makers, video creators, benders of light, cross-genre alchemists and mischief-makers to come along for the breakneck ride. We are not able to offer employment at this stage, but we are keen to broaden the discussion and we will follow up. We’d love to hear from anyone interested; drop us a line here, outlining your skills and starting points in a short paragraph.


 Images courtesy of Jane Bruce and Kate Hodges

Queen Elizabeth II puppet at Hastings Old Town Carnival, MSL
Queen Elizabeth II puppet at Hastings Old Town Carnival, MSL

Created by:

Margaret Sheehy Producer

Jane Bruce Artist

Lucy Mulgan Composer and Musician

Shaun Rodrigo Virtual Reality Artist

Will Green Technologist

Sam Sharples Cinematographer

Alison Lyon Evaluator

Kevin Grist Sound Artist

Tony McBride Access Consultant

Rosanna Lowe Writer


Work with us.

We create our projects with real people and places in mind. We like to work with our clients, our partners, our participants to develop original and distinctive work.

Give us a call to get started.