Waterside Arts is set to feature a series of free shows as part of its annual Summer Arts Festival Refract.

Ten day arts festival, Refract:21 opens on 22 July inviting audiences to see and experience things differently.  The festival of experimental performance, music and events runs until 31 July both indoor and outdoors of Waterside and includes a number of paid and free events.

Free events at the festival include:

Gravity & Levity present WHY?
Saturday 24 July 15:00 & 20:00; Sunday 25 July 15:00 & 20:00
Free event
Why? is both a tender and exhilarating aerial duet exploring themes of life, loss, surrender and acceptance in a soft and moving way.
The piece offers a visceral experience for its audiences that not only legitimises the emotional one but creates space for the viewer to bring their own understanding to it, triggering a resonance, not dictating their experience.
On Waterside Plaza

Kapow presents GROW
Saturday 24 July 13:00 & 16:00; Sunday 25 July 13:00 & 16:00
Free event
A lively, energetic and vibrant dance theatre duet. In a playful and touching celebration of nature’s power to rejuvenate itself, take over spaces and grow through the cracks, Kapow combine humanity and a comedic gardening show in their lively duet Grow.
Through order and chaos, humans transforming into weed, seeds and beautiful sunflowers, Grow looks at the relationships we form with one another and the natural world and explores what we all need to thrive.
All ages | 25 mins
Sale Town Centre/In the Cabaret Club
picture above Grow – image courtesy Jamie Morgans Photography

Upswing presents CATCH ME
Saturday 24 July 14:00 & 19:00;
Free event
Catch Me is an intimate and surprising take on age, race and gender. An older woman and younger man dance together through a landscape of abandoned chairs, discovering joy, risk and unexpected connections in a poignant duet.
A poetic mix of dance and acrobatics, Catch Me asks how we see each other and who we value.
All ages | 18 mins
On Waterside Plaza

Safety Catch Theatre presents D.O.C.
Thursday 29 July 12:00 & 15:30; Friday 30 July 12:00 & 15:30;
Free event
D.O.C. Doctor On Call.  A talking Ambulance with a wonky algorithm. A woefully haphazard Doctor. The waiting room is full of patients. What could possibly go wrong?
Meet BESSIE – Brainy Emergency Systems Secondary Intelligence Equaliser – a flashy Ambulance upgraded with the latest Artificial Intelligence. BESSIE and her friendly operative Doctor Montgomery are on a self-care recruitment drive: teaching farcical DIY procedures, medical experiments and wellbeing techniques, reducing NHS waiting lists while picking up the post pandemic pieces, one at a time.
An open hearted comedy for family audiences, coming soon to an operating theatre near you.
Age 3+
On Waterside Plaza

Friday 30 July 11:00, 13:00 & 16:00; Saturday 31 July 11:00, 13:00 & 16:00
Free event
A playful outdoor work for young children and their families, where two witty characters make magic out of dance and weather – from the pitter patter of the lightest rain shower to the awesome howl of a storm, from footsteps in the snow to a joyful celebration of sunshine.
The Weather Machine is an entertaining, playful and interactive dance performance on the themes of weather and the seasons. The Weather Mechanicals are quirky, retro, Laurel & Hardy style characters, performed by two dancers, who with humour, physicality & gentle messaging invite audiences to observe them as they grapple & strain to stay in control of the fantabulous Weather Machine.
Age 3+ | 20 mins
On Waterside Plaza

Hawk Dance Theatre presents AND THEN IT JUST…STOPPED
Saturday 31 July 12:00 & 15:00
Free event
A dynamic and emotive outdoor dance theatre show, created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The highly physical trio dance performance explores a response to a turbulent year and what moving forwards in a post-pandemic future might look like. The piece, set to an original poem by Charley Genever and sound by Lee Affen, is inspired by young people’s reactions, thoughts and feelings following a year of unsettled isolation and aspiration to grow and move once again. Set on a large scaffolding frame structure, designed by Dave Benson, the dancers climb, jump and weave their way through a maze of metal bars.
All ages
On Waterside Plaza

Until 31 July 2021
154 Collective creative an exhibition celebrating being connected, collective and part of a community.  As you step into the gallery at Waterside Arts you’ll come across sounds, images, objects, animations, words and space – all designed to make you smile, pause and reflect.  This new installation has been created specifically for people in Trafford at this time – and is suitable for everyone from 4 to 94.
154 Collective is an international, multi artform group, including Performers, Painters, Writers, Photographers, Animators, Dancers and Musicians. They tell stories from unusual and fun perspectives and present work in all sorts of ways including exhibitions, music albums, installations, theatre shows and public art.
In the Lauriston Gallery