Running across ten days at Trafford’s award-winning arts destination, Sale Waterside’s Refract Festival returns for a fifth instalment of the best in regional art, dance, music, performance and theatre with innovative transformations of the spaces both indoors and outside. Having unveiled its stellar line-up, Refract curates a judicious blend of firm favourites and new talent to produce its most entertaining entry so far.

Boasting one of the best theatre stages in South Manchester,  Waterside’s indoor space features an incredible range of live music, performance and comedy. Bringing their entirely unique sound to Sale for the first time, Riot Jazz play literally everything — from fusions of trap, grime, classical and Balkan to covers of Britney Spears classics. South African group Kabantu join the Refract lineup for one night only, as does local singer Harriet Dagnall, with original songs inspired by a diverse musical diet of Fleetwood Mac, Yebba, the Cocteau Twins and others, alongside euphoric indie pop group Foxglove, one of Manchester’s hottest rising acts.

Catering generously to cabaret-lovers, Refract also features acclaimed off-Broadway and West End musical Julie Madly Deeply, a show-stopping tribute to Julie Andrews with renditions of songs from her most iconic roles. Additional theatrical highlights include Superfan’s Fringe hit Like Animals, while a star-studded roster from Laugh Riot and a Father Ted stand-up show from actor-turned-comedian Joe Rooney comprise the brimming comedy schedule.

Promising over a week of al fresco entertainment, Waterside Plaza hosts an expansive array of free outdoor shows. Launching on opening night with Quite Unfit For Females, a dance-based performance chronicling the Prestonian ladies’ football team which defied a ban on the women’s game in 1921, the canal-side space features spellbinding acrobatic talent from all-female dance theatre group Mimbre with their new performance, Lifted, as well as exuberantly colourful disco show Glam, inspired by club culture and the LGBTQ+ community.

As a festival for all ages and abilities, Refract is replete with lively kids’ entertainment. Alongside the returning Groove Baby’s ‘sensational sensory voyage’ Groove Sensations, an eclectic musical animations show for under-3s, and funk-backed under-7s odyssey Groove into the Woods, the family-friendly schedule includes SPLAT: a fully inclusive, chaotic physical comedy show without any spoken words and total accessibility for hearing-impaired audiences.

Check out the full festival programme here, with tickets available for every performance.

A Manchester Wire Partnership post
Thu 21 Jul - Sat 30 Jul, Waterside Sale,
1 Waterside Plaza, Sale, Trafford M33 7ZF
, Tel: 0161 912 5616
Wolf McFarlane
Published on:
Mon 27 Jun 2022