Warrington Arts Festival has unveiled its full programme for 2024 with a host of vibrant, accessible, community-focused events set to take place over nine days.

folk dance remixed

The summer festival, hosted by Culture Warrington, will return to the town centre between 19 and 27 July with an ambitious series of performances and installations coming to a variety of venues and pop-up spaces.

Highlights include a Family Garden Party at Queens Gardens packed with live music, performances and hands-on activities over two days, including Everywhere’s A Beach, a circus theatre show that takes place on a revolving parasol, magical entertainment within a giant golden ‘Birdcage Stage’ and the chance to meet the stilt-walking Birds of Paradise.

Elsewhere, Gorilla Circus’s largescale aerial spectacular Unity is swooping into Bank Park, featuring wire walking, dance trapeze, hair hanging and hydraulics.

unity

An Edinburgh Fringe Festival prize-winner is even coming to Warrington – No Dragon, No Lion by Hong Kong’s TS Crew will combine classical lion dance and Chinese opera with pulse pounding beats and the dynamic athleticism of martial arts and parkour.

For young audiences, there is Move Manchester’s Lilo Lost It – a dance performance exploring identity and acceptance, or for more chilled out vibes head to Golden Square’s Sky Garden, grab a beanbag, lie back and watch the sky as Gobbledegook Theatre present Cloudscapes.

cloudscapes

A host of Warrington creatives will also be unveiling new work after receiving funding and support as part of the festival’s development.

Artist Leanne Van will create colourful mural portraits inspired by Warrington’s communities, Amy Nic will develop her work-in-progress The Business of Love in collaboration with women from the area, and Hayley Reid will bring history to life with an imaginative programme of activity dedicated to Warrington’s Old Billy – the longest living horse on record.

Lauren Banks, Programme Producer, said: “'I’m really excited to relaunch Warrington Arts Festival this summer – which will take place over nine days across 10 locations in the town centre.

“We’re grateful to the thousands of people who have chatted, consulted and shared their ideas with us over the past five months to help make this happen.

“With increased activity taking place outdoors and in public spaces, we’re hoping this year more people will be able to engage with and enjoy the festival than ever before.”

Warrington Arts Festival’s 2024 programme is all part of a dynamic and far-reaching new vision for the annual event following a £840,000 funding boost.

Led by an expanded team, the revamped festival’s goal is to celebrate Warrington through arts, culture, people and place.

Over the past five months, organisers have consulted with more than 1,500 people from the community to hear what they would like to see at the event.

A Young Producers Programme has been launched to provide pathways for young people to access the creative industries, and Culture Warrington’s current cohort of young producers are directly involved with the festival.

This year, they are creating a ‘community canvas’ called Squiggle where all visitors are invited to lose themselves in sea of doodles.

The organisers have also been actively engaging with all sections of the Warrington community, and particularly with groups whose involvement with the festival may have been limited until now.

At the same time, the team will be retaining some of the festival’s longstanding elements like the popular Open Exhibition at Warrington Museum.

Leah Biddle, Cultural Director for Culture Warrington, added: “This year’s festival is set to be bigger and bolder than ever before. The new team have invigorated the event, creating a unique and diverse programme that celebrates our town.

“Our extensive consultations have resulted in a festival that reflects our community and offers a variety of ways for people to engage with the event – ensuring that Warrington Arts Festival is made with, by and for the people of Warrington.

“We couldn’t have achieved this without the extensive funding and support from the Arts Council England’s Place Partnership Fund, Warrington Borough Council and Warrington BID. This festival really will put us on the cultural map, I’m so proud of what we have created, and I can’t wait for you to join us this summer.”

An evolving platform for creatives since 2010, the event was previously known as Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival. The new title is to reflect an ambition to make the festival more accessible and wide-ranging.

Warrington Arts Festival takes place between 19 and 27 July. For more information, tickets and the full programme, visit warringtonartsfestival.org

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