Waterside, Trafford’s leading arts venue, is delighted to announce it is re-opening its doors for artists and audiences alike from Monday 17 May ‘21 with an exciting summer and autumn programme of live theatre, music, visual arts, comedy, dance and spoken word. Highlights include its annual ten day Summer arts festival, Refract:21 (22 – 31 July ‘21), outdoor productions of The Great Gatsby and Mr Stink, comedy nights with stand up stalwarts including Paul Foot, Mark Watson and Sofie Hagen and one off in conversation events with music legends John Lydon and Francis Rossi.

Whilst the venue has faced inordinate challenges over the past year, Waterside has delivered a strong programme of online activity, engaging over 38,000 people with multiple digital performances and participatory events such as the Heroes in Motion challenge and a digital version of Pride in Trafford. Waterside has also supported a photography graduate exhibition, First Light, and has helped a number Greater Manchester-based theatre makers to create new work.

Manager of Waterside, Darren Adams saysThe entire team at Waterside and I are beyond thrilled to be reaching this momentous milestone and finally re-opening the venue to the public on 17 May. Though we approach this date cautiously, we are busy planning for an exciting re-opening season. Over the past year, like businesses and our fellow cultural organisations up and down the country, we have faced huge challenges, but I am immensely proud of our team who have tackled them head on, with the resilience and good will we are known for. Our heartfelt thanks go to our audiences and friends whose unwavering support has meant so much to us.  We are now reaching out to ask for your continued support as we open our doors again and deliver what promises to be a fantastic summer back at Waterside.”

Kicking off on Mon 17 May to tie in with the venue’s opening week is the borough’s annual Pride in Trafford Festival (Mon 17 – Sat 22 May ‘21). This five day exploration and celebration of identity and LGBTQ+ life in Trafford commences with the raising of the rainbow flag outside Sale Town Hall to mark IDAHOBIT (International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia).  Throughout the week, Waterside will run a small programme of one off comedy, cabaret, storytelling, dance and theatre shows showcasing local and up and coming LGBTQ+ artists and performers. For those who love their LGBTQ+ entertainment to be that little bit “extra” – Thursday night’s Disco Tea Party combining disco and drag is one not to be missed!

Disco Tea PartyImage Credit: DiscoTeaParty-MAC Birmingham, @EmwaJones

Waterside is also thrilled to be one of 40 venues taking part in Here & Now which is a national and local celebration of culture within communities, marking the National Lottery’s 25th birthday. 40 brand new projects have, or are due take place, in and around 40 arts centres across the country, led by artists and co-created with local people.

We Are Collective will be a multi-media installation in the gallery spaces at Waterside, open from 17 May to 31 July ‘21. This project will promise to be colourful and immersive seeking to connect and reunite the local community through a process of collaboration with the people of Trafford.

In addition to a summer season of family theatre, comedy, live music and exhibitions – Waterside will be running its vibrant flagship ten day arts festival, Refract:21 – from 22 July inviting audiences to see and experience things differently.  Full programme details will be announced later this month, and audiences can expect a colourful, community-focused programme of experiential and celebratory work.

It is Waterside’s utmost priority to keep its audiences, artists, visiting companies and staff safe as the venue re-opens on 17 May.  Robust Covid prevention measures will therefore be in place – including mandatory use of face masks within the building with the exception of performers. In keeping with current Government guidelines, these measures will remain in place at least until 21 June.  During this period, Waterside will operate on a reduced capacity for both ticketed events and general admission to the gallery and venue. Where possible, Waterside will also offer a contingency to deliver some theatre shows online if venue access is suddenly restricted or for those who would remain more comfortable to access content digitally at this time.

A spokesperson for Trafford Council says “Having closed its doors 14 months ago, we know how much the Trafford community will be delighted to see Waterside opening again with a wonderful arts and cultural offer. With robust safety measures in place, and a mix of indoor, outdoor and digital events, we hope audiences and visitors will feel confident in re-engaging with this venue which we are so fortunate to have in the borough.  At Trafford Council, we know the significance Waterside and cultural venues will have in our economic and emotional recovery from the pandemic.”

See full summer season programme information at watersidearts.org

Pride In Trafford runs at Waterside and various venues around Sale from Mon 17 – Sat 22 May ‘21.  Tickets go on sale from Thursday 15 April ’21 at prideintrafford.org

Refract:21 runs from Thu 22 – Sat 31 July ‘21.  Full programme information will be available from Thursday 29 April ‘21.