Theatre in 2021: Waterside Arts Venue announce re-opening date!

Sale's Waterside returns with a packed calendar of productions and shows...

By Ben Brown | 15 April 2021

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Waterside, Trafford’s leading arts venue, is delighted to announce it is re-opening its doors for artists and audiences alike from Monday 17th May 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 (22nd – 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 says “The 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!

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.

See full summer season programme information at