Following the huge success of Waterside‘s Refract Festival last year, we’re pleased to report that Refract Festival will return to Waterside in Sale, for its third edition this summer.
Refract:19 is a unique and eclectic ten-day summer festival packed with a handpicked programme of experiential performance, comedy, live music and family activities.
The festival is based in Sale with all of the events taking place inside and outside of Trafford’s canalside creative hub, Waterside.
Bringing together audiences of all ages, Refract:19 has been carefully curated and aims to push audiences and challenge attendees to see things differently. Building on the success of previous festivals, Refract:19 will host some familiar faces alongside new talent, with Edinburgh Fringe previews, world premieres, and more than a few surprises along the way.
Launching the festival will be Wiredo – a spectacular fusion of Japanese rope art and tightwire stunts. During the festival, Waterside Plaza will also play host to two free outdoor dance spectacles –In Adrift, presented by Kapow Dance, and the unmissable Motionhouse. Bringing their signature blend of circus and dance, Captive is certain to wow audiences when Motionhouse close Refract:19 with an exhilarating open-air sunset performance.
Throughout the festival, Waterside’s versatile theatre spaces will be transformed into a cabaret and intimate gig venue to host the very best in live performance. Refract favourite Minute-taker – the acclaimed Manchester-based singer-songwriter, Ben Garvey will return to Refract with the world premiere of his new show, Wolf Hours. Folk Singer Grace Petrie will take the musical baton for an intimate set, and Mancunian acoustic act Gypsies of Bohemia will be joined by festival regular Professor Elemental in the exclusive Refract Jazz Club.
Comedy fans will be delighted with shows from cabaret royalty Frisky & Mannish, and a triple-headliner comedy night with MC Jonathan Mayor, featuring the fabulous Sophie Willan, Tony Law and award-winning funny man Alum Cochrane. Those interested in spoken word should definitely check out Faxfiction, six brand-new commissions about analogue technology which are being performed on the final day of the festival.
There are plenty of theatre highlights this year too. We’re championing Dibby Theatre’s First Time. Nathaniel Hall returns to Waterside in this funny and frank one-man show. A worthy recipient of the Making Waves bursary, you’ve got another chance to see this show before it heads to Edinburgh Fringe.
With events for all ages at Refract:19, little ones and their grown-ups will be pleased to know that Our Kids Social are back with their Silent DisGlo – a special neon-tastic edition of their hugely popular silent-disco-meets-arts-and-craft. There will also be MiniFest – a Waterside exclusive music fest for families, and SLIME – a squelchy theatre show happening across Trafford Libraries and Waterside.
From award-winning comedy to top-notch theatre; art installations in caravans and slime making in libraries; striking outdoor dance displays to a night with an erotic fiction writer. Packing in ten days of cultural delight, Refract:19 has got everything covered.
Check out our full listings and do remember to book early.
Because of the ongoing Coronavirus crisis, we are unable to bring you our usual recommendations for things to do in Manchester and the North. Our thoughts at this time are with our readers and with the organisations and businesses who make the North of England a great place to live and visit. We hope you stay well and look forward to sharing more unmissable events and places with you later in the year.
Here’s our guide to supporting organisations in Manchester and the North.
Please note – many of the venues on our site will be closed and events either postponed or cancelled. Please check the venue website for details.