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Refract:24 Festival

23 July - 28 July

refract - waterside

A carefully curated programme, jilted from convention, for audiences of all ages.

23rd to 28th July 2024 – FIND OUT MORE

This vibrant spectacle transforms the spaces inside and outside Waterside Arts to offer visitors innovative ways in which to experience live music, dance, performance and events.

Internationally acclaimed magician and illusionist Ben Hart will be dropping into launch Refract.  The real-life witch and Britain’s Got Talent finalist brings HeX, a curated collection of Ben’s favourite and most exciting material from the last decade alongside new ideas fresh from his laboratory, guaranteed to put a spell on you. Audiences won’t want to miss this chance on Tue 23 and Wed 24 July to catch the star of stage and screen up-close and in real life.

Reem Anbar  will also be joining the launch of the festival in the Chambers. Reem is an internationally renowned Palestinian oud player and musician. Growing up in Gaza, she became known as the region’s first music therapist and appeared regularly on many stages and media platforms. She now performs internationally as a solo oud player and leader of Gazelleband. She will be joined by guest vocalist Nour Sima. 

refract - street gamesRefract’s free, family-friendly outdoor performances begin with Autin Dance’s Street Games. The inclusive and accessible fun featuring street games, live music and dance with BSL performance and interpretation.  Audiences can expect games from around the world that everyone can get involved in, hosted by three fabulous Game Hosts and party music sets from EIF Sound and Music..

Waterside is absolutely honoured to have The Untold Orchestra as part of the Refract line up this year. Joined by guest vocalists, Nicole Battick and Dija Bhlue, The Untold Orchestra presents Summer of Soul with a sensational show of soul classics; hits from artists such as Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations and more.

Families can also expect to be wowed by Brimstone – The Dragon! A roaming outdoor theatrical experience that sparks imagination and instils wonder with children and their families. The six-metre long Giant Dragon puppet is brought to life by four highly skilled puppeteers to tell the magical and adventurous story of Brimstone, a fearsome and misunderstood beast from a hidden island.

Raggle Taggle Arts bring their ragtime musicians for a family friendly interactive live music and dance show in The Old Time Rags Travelling Show.

Refract is delighted to welcome back Kyla Brox.  Blues and soul become inextricably entwined in award-winning singer-songwriter, Kyla Brox, who is at the very top of the UK Blues scene. Her voice: tender, urgent, gritty, blurring the distinction between pleasure and pain, mixed with the enchantingly fluent guitar work of Paul Farr, inspired bass playing of Danny Blomeley and in-the-pocket drumming of Mark Warburton, combine to make a unique and powerful, often joyous, always emotional experience.

Across the weekend, festival goers can enjoy a whole host of fabulous free outdoor entertainment on Waterside Plaza, which will include interactive walkabout performances of The Running Showers by Teatro Pomodoro -splashing through the streets, with shower caps and rubber ducks!

Unboxed from Linden Dance is an explosive dance work in which a mixed-race man and a white woman set themselves in opposition to two giant wooden cubes in a physical representation of their battle with prejudice and judgement. The toxicity of the subject matter reverberates in the pulsing soundtrack and the performers’ athletic physicality which draws on Afro-fusion and contemporary movement styles.  Performances take place throughout the weekend. 

refract - wateside artsSunday at the festival starts with a stretch and a smile for those wanting to join the Yoga Rave. Qualified Shanthi yoga teacher Hebe Reilly and disco, funk & house DJ Misscothèque bring to Refract their fun fusion of guided floor-based yoga moves and stretches, free-style movement and dancing to a live DJ.

Brand new for Refract 24: The Bandstand! This year the festival welcomes a series of sensational music artists to our outdoor bandstand on the Plaza.

Manchester based singer-songwriter Zoe Kyoti merges blues and folk traditions with exotic world music influences. Her heartfelt songs explore tales of lost love, rebirth, rebellion and adventure. The result is both dramatic and uplifting, full of intensity, playfulness.  She joins Refract as a trio with self-effacing guitarist Ulrich Elbracht and Andrew Chaisty on bass.

Award-winning clarinettist, Arun Ghosh will be entertaining the crowds with his full band at a family friendly gig. His sound is IndoJazz: with joyful, soaring South Asian melodies and hypnotic grooves.

A charismatic and communicative performer, Arun will be playing a special show – two sets across the afternoon – for families and young people – all welcome! 

Also joining the Refract Bandstand will be Stretford-based Psychederek – aka Lewis Olsen. His solo set will combine electronic music with live instruments to create a unique fusion of sounds

Find out more about Refract:24 Festival at Waterside Arts



23 July
28 July
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Waterside Arts
1 Waterside, Sale
Manchester, M33 7ZF United Kingdom
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