Refract 19, Arts festival, Theatre, TotalNtertainment, Manchester

Photo Copyright © Mia Bergius

Trafford’s flagship arts festival REFRACT:19 returns to Waterside

“This year, there are really strong strands to the festival, which will resonate differently with everyone – from contemporary theatre to diverse music, the best in family entertainment and outdoor spectacles. Our focus has been on creating unforgettable experiences, using our spaces in an innovative way, which fully embraces our mission and commitment to delivering unusual quality productions and performers for all – enabling everyone to keep seeing things differently.”

Back with a bang for its third edition this July, is the opportunity to experience things differently at Waterside during Refract:19 . Running from Thursday 18 July to Saturday 27 July, this ten day event promises the very best in live comedy, music, dance, experiential performance and theatre.

Expect the unexpected as Trafford’s award-winning arts destination is re-imagined both inside and out, to host everything from firm favourites and familiar faces, to new talent, Edinburgh previews and a few surprises along the way. From Japanese rope art to award-winning comedy; slime making in libraries to art installations in a caravan; performances in a theatrical tent to cabaret clubs, jazz joints and contemporary folk music; as well as spectacular outdoor dance and a night with an erotic fiction writer, Refract:19 really does pack in ten days of cultural delight.

Kicking off on Thursday 18 July is WireDo – a daring spectacle of tightwire stunts combined with the Japanese rope art of Shibari.   

Minute Taker, Manchester-based and acclaimed alternative singer-songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist Ben McGarvey, also returns to Refract with the world premiere of his new audio-visual show, Wolf Hours

Acclaimed contemporary folk singer Grace Petrie will also be taking up the musical baton for an intimate gig during Refract:19 with her unique take on life, love and politics.  Manchester based acoustic act Gypsies of Bohemia perform modern pop favourites like youve never heard before in the Refract Jazz Club, joined by festival favourite hip-hop artist Professor Elemental. There is plenty more music on offer from Karima FrancisAnnabel AllumAltergaze and Mama Racho. 

Refract:19 will see the transformation of Watersides traditional theatre spaces into a cabaret and gig venue hosting the very best in live performances during the festival. Comedy fans will be delighted with the arrival of cabaret royalty Frisky and Mannish, complete with their pop PHD and humorous peek down the microscope in their preview of Poplab. Funny bones can also be tickled in a triple-headliner comedy night, brought together especially for Refract:19, with MC Jonathan Mayor, firm favourite Tony Law, rising star Sophie Willan and no-nonsense funny man Alun Cochrane.

As part of Refract:19, Waterside is delighted to announce its brand new Arts Council commissioned series of exciting devised debut theatre work – Making Waves. Kicking off is Catching Comets, by multi-award winning Ransack Theatre  a disaster movie about falling in love, followed by the Roaring Girlswith their defiantly feel good show, Beach Body Ready. Come prepared to stick two fingers up to everything that the media said you must look like, or not eat or event where you ought to shave!  Nathaniel Hall also returns to Waterside as part of the line-up on with an exclusive Edinburgh preview of First Time. 

Small people will love SLIME – a squishy, squelchy show across Trafford libraries and at Waterside, as well as Our Kids Social’s Silent DisGlo – a special neon edition of their ever-popular silent-disco-meets-arts-and-craft and MiniFest – a kids’ music festival in Watersides exclusive Jazz Club! 

There will be two outstanding and free outdoor spectacles on the Waterside Plaza for dance lovers. In Adrift, presented by Kapow Dance, this intimate and sensitive dance show fuses narrative with movement. World-class dance and circus company, Motionhouse bring their internationally-renowned dance, acrobatic and aerial production, Captive to wow audiences with a spectacular outdoor sunset performance to close Refract:19.

For full listing please check refract.org.uk