Refract arts festival returns for ten jam-packed days of summer entertainment


Waterside is a thriving and vibrant destination for performance, culture and events in the heart of Sale.

Since opening in 2004, it has built a strong reputation for delivering high quality and engaging work, ranging from family theatre, interactive arts activity, performance, live music and regular comedy as well as high profile visual arts exhibitions.

Following the success of its first ever Refract festival last year, Waterside has announced it will be returning this summer. It promises ten jam-packed days of the very best in summer entertainment, bursting with experiential performance, live music, comedy, theatre and family events inviting you to see things differently.

Tankus the Henge

The line-up is eclectic with everything from a miniature theatre in a magical canvas dome and a pop-up cabaret club to a mini-music festival for kids, and arts and craft meets silent disco on offer.

There will also be musical performances from cult British band Tankus the Henge, an immersive gig from multi-instrumentalist Minute Taker and Manchester reggae-pop outfit Jeramiah Ferrari, as well as a closing party featuring by The Magic Numbers and Ren Harvieu.

Kicking off the festival is award-winning PanGottic’s ‘catupultastic’ evening of clowning, contraptions, comedy and courage in Long Shot. Cabaret From The Shadows sees the theatre transformed into a pop-up cabaret club for one night only to present this hilarious, mischievous, sexy and unnerving show.

Jeramiah Ferrari

Music lovers are in for a treat with Manchester’s most exciting genre-weaving group – Jeramiah Ferrari. The band has forged a superb reputation for live sets, fusing styles of reggae, rock, ska and pop to make a truly memorable and essential new sound.

Rock, funk, blues, ska, roots and gypsy rhythms unite on stage with Tankus the Henge. Combining wild showmanship, stories of wonder and musical dexterity, this live musical experience is something to behold.

Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Minute Taker, aka Ben McGarvey, will also make his Refract debut with an immersive live show. Inspired by imaginative artists such as Kate Bush, David Bowie, Tori Amos and Bjork, McGarvey creates haunting piano songs with multi-layered ethereal vocals, distorted electronic beats and otherworldly synthscapes.

Showstopper ! Apollo Theatre CREDIT Geraint Lewis

The Refract music line-up closes with one of the nation’s best-loved bands, The Magic Numbers.  Known for their unique harmonies, melodic hooks and songwriting craftsmanship and timeless sound, the ‘happiest band in music’ (NME) will be joined by Salford-born Ren Harvieu who blends vintage soulful tones with sumptuous swing touches.

Plenty of laughs are on offer at this year’s festival, and all tastes catered for. Queer cabaret mayhem is guaranteed with Mother’s Ruin and comedy mixed with musical madness in Showstopper! – The Improvised Musical, a brand new musical created from scratch and performed live from audience suggestions.

Families with kids big and small can enjoy a bumper programme of theatre, crafts, puppetry, music and more, including Our Kids Social’s Make, Do & Bop bringing silent disco fun to let imaginations run wild.

For arty adults with a penchant for doodling, grab a pen or a brush and get your creative juices flowing in Overdrawn, a free and one-off interactive art event. Lovers of art will also enjoy re:cast, a series of art installations around Waterside’s spaces.

Overdrawn Art

“Our inaugural festival last year drew in over 20% of new audiences and welcomed many of our loyal visitors to experience unexpected and innovative work,” Waterside manager  and Refract producer Darren Adams told us. “Building on last year’s success we’re delighted with the quality and diversity of the Refract:18 line-up.”

Refract:18 runs from Thursday 19 to Saturday 28 July 2018. Tickets are on sale now



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