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Quays Festival welcomes audiences back with colourful celebration of creativity

The daytime programme is designed to be family friendly, with highlights including a spectacular new aerial performance

We’ve all missed live performances, art and theatre these past months – but now, Quays Festival is back, with events set to transform Salford Quays this month.

The daytime programme is designed to be family friendly and suitable for all ages, with highlights including a spectacular new aerial performance created by specialists Scarabeus Aerial Theatre. 

Originally commissioned for The Lowry’s WEEK 53 Festival 2020 that was sadly cancelled due to the pandemic, Powerflex features four professional aerialists who perform suspended from The Lowry’s iconic tower. 

All four daytime performances are free to attend with audience viewing from outside The Lowry and no booking required. 

“We’re so excited to welcome audiences back to enjoy art and performance in such a safe, accessible and inspiring setting” says Quays culture producer Jennifer Taylor. 

“We treasured the intimacy of Mystery Bird – a travelling projection installation created in 2020 in response to the pandemic that toured to people in their homes – but we’re so looking forward to celebrating the safe return of communities to large-scale live performance and events.”

The festival also celebrates the launch of a new sculptural installation Through No.4 by Liz West.

Installed permanently on MediaCity steps, the six metre long, prismatic corridor of light will invite people to pass through and see the world around them transformed by colour. 

“I am delighted that Quays Culture have commissioned me to make Through No.4, a development of my Through series,” says Liz.

“I am looking forward to seeing the work glisten and throw out mesmerising sundial colour ways onto the quayside. I hope that it brings joy to those who pass nearby and through it.

“This walk-through structure encourages visitors to look at their surroundings in a different light.

“Making their way inside the multi-coloured corridor people see the world around them transformed by multicolour.

“The barrier between the outside and inside creates a multi-coloured striped cloak and distortion in an array of different hues, transforming the usual colourations and appearance of the outside environment.”

A rare opportunity to enjoy the fusion of swimming, music and dance also features as part of the weekend, with a playful Colour Swim event in partnership with Uswim.

With choreography by Darren Pritchard led by House of Ghetto dancers, participants are invited to join in a playful mass dance from within the water, with Manchester School of Samba providing the distinct live soundtrack.

Free tickets will be available to book online and spectators can watch from around Dock 9.

“Manchester School of Samba have been entertaining crowds in stadiums, on parades, in clubs and hotels for over 25 years,” said Tony Watt, the founder.

“We are absolutely delighted to collaborate on Colour Swim to create something very special and unique – SambaSwim!

“We use dance and percussion to create inclusive and dynamic performances.

“We intend to create one of the highlights of this fantastic event.” 

A free drop-in workshop programme compliments the festival programme with an opportunity to try your hand at samba or experiment with screen printing with artist Sally Gilford, creating your very own print to take home.  

Alongside Quays Festival this year, The Lowry welcomes visitors to enjoy a free programme of activity as part of the popular, annual Open Day on Sunday 15th August and MediaCity’s Summer activity extends a compelling invitation to families to be immersed in free interactive play and activities delivered by local partners including The Lowry, Lancashire Cricket Club and the RHS.

“In a post-COVID world, public art and culture for all is more important than ever,” said Josie Cahill, place director for MediaCityUK.

“We are thrilled to be working in partnership with Quays Culture and a host of fantastic artists to bring such a vibrant programme of activity to MediaCity which will inspire and engage those who live, work and visit.”

Quays Festival takes place on Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th August 2021. Find out more here.

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