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Waterside unveils sensational line up for Refract:24


Refract:24 Trafford’s leading arts festival
Waterside’s annual and experiential summer festival is back for 2024 from Tues 23 July to Sunday 28 July.

Trafford is delighted to announce the line up for its summer arts festival at its award-winning venue Waterside. This vibrant spectacle transforms the spaces inside and outside 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 before returning to Edinburgh for another Fringe run. 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. Ben’s shows are a unique kind of alchemy. Funny, dark and baffling, Hart’s an altogether new species of conjurer. 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.

Refract is absolutely delighted to welcome Reem Anbar, who will also be joining the launch of the festival in the Chambers on 23 July. 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’s free, family-friendly outdoor performances begin on Thu 25 July with Autin Dance’s Street Games. This promises to be inclusive and accessible fun featuring street games, live music and dance with BSL performance and interpretation. Audiences can expect games from around the that everyone can get involved in, hosted by three fabulous Game Hosts and party music sets from EIF Sound and Music. Street Games continues on Fri 26 July.

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 on Thu 25 July, with a sensational show of soul classics; hits from artists such as Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations and more.

The Untold Orchestra bring orchestras into the 21st century through memorable performances celebrating musical icons from the last 100 years, exciting collaborations with up and coming and internationally acclaimed artists, and through community projects for people across the city.

Artistic director Sam Davies said, We’re thrilled to be working with Waterside on Refract Festival. It’s a beautiful venue, in a great place and we can’t wait to dance the night away celebrating some amazing soul music.’

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. Brimstone will be entertaining audiences on Fri 26 & Sat 27 July.

Also on Fri 26 July 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 “the finest female blues singer of her generation” (Manchester Evening News) Kyla Brox on Fri 26 July. 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.

Sun 28 July 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.

And brand new for Refract 24: The Bandstand on Sun 28 July! 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.

“It is incredibly exciting to bring the Refract Festival back to Waterside this year. This summer, we’re offering an eclectic mix of performances, from awe-inspiring music acts to free outdoor performance that cater to all ages. Our lineup showcases both emerging talents and established artists, promising something spectacular for everyone. We look forward to celebrating the arts together and making this year’s festival the best one yet.” – Darren Adams, Producer of Refract Festival, Waterside Manager.

Refract: 24 runs at Waterside from Tuesday 23 – Sunday 28 July.


View the full listings here


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