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From aerial theatre to a corridor of light – it’s all happening at Quays Festival

If you’re looking for a spot of escapism and haven’t managed to sort a holiday this year, then the Quays Festival is offering a bold programme of performances and events which will transform Salford Quays across the weekend of Saturday and Sunday, August 14 and 15.

The free daytime programme of events is family friendly and suitable for all ages. Highlights include a spectacular aerial performance by Scarabeus Aerial Theatre, the launch of a new sculptural installation, Through No.4 by Liz West, which will be installed permanently on MediaCity steps, a playful Colour Swim event by Uswim and a free drop-in workshop programme. 

“We’re so excited to welcome audiences back to enjoy art and performance in such a safe, accessible and inspiring setting,” says Quays Culture Producer Jennifer Taylor.

Salford Quays

Originally commissioned for The Lowry’s WEEK 53 Festival 2020, The Scarabeus Theatre event was cancelled due to the pandemic. However, Powerflex features four professional aerialists who will perform suspended from The Lowry’s iconic tower. All four daytime performances are free to attend with audience viewing from outside The Lowry and no booking required. 

Manchester School of Samba

The festival also celebrates the launch of a new sculptural installation Through No.4 by Liz West. Installed permanently on MediaCity steps, the six-metre long, prismatic corridor of light will invite people to pass through and see the world around them transformed by colour. 

“I am delighted that Quays Culture have commissioned me to make Through No.4, a development of my Through series,” says Liz. “I am looking forward to seeing the work glisten and throw out mesmerising sundial colour ways onto the quayside. I hope that it brings joy to those who pass nearby and through it. This walk-through structure encourages visitors to look at their surroundings in a different light. Making their way inside the multi-coloured corridor people see the world around them transformed by multicolour. The barrier between the outside and inside creates a multi-coloured striped cloak and distortion in an array of different hues, transforming the usual colourations and appearance of the outside environment.”

Liz West’s colour corridor installation, Through No.4

A rare opportunity to enjoy the fusion of swimming, music and dance also features as part of the weekend, with a playful Colour Swim event in partnership with Uswim. With choreography by Darren Pritchard led by House of Ghetto dancers, participants are invited to join in a playful mass dance from within the water, with Manchester School of Samba providing the distinct live soundtrack! Free tickets will be available to book online and spectators can watch from around Dock 9. 

A free drop-in workshop programme compliments the festival programme with an opportunity to try your hand at samba or experiment with screen printing with artist Sally Gilford, creating your very own print to take home. 

Alongside Quays Festival this year, The Lowry welcomes visitors to enjoy a free programme of activity as part of the popular, annual Open Day on Sun 15 August and MediaCity’s Summer activity extends an invitation to families to be immersed in free interactive play and activities delivered by local partners including The Lowry, Lancashire Cricket Club and the RHS. Find out more about what’s on in MediaCity at  

Diane Cooke
Diane Cooke is a three times award-winning journalist who has worked for UK national/regional newspapers, magazines and websites.

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