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New outdoor arts festival set to wow Watford

  • Date: 20 June 2011
  • Area: National, South East
three women in dramatic costume dress perched on long poles in the air

'The Three Belles' by Strange Fruit, performing at Imagine Watford 2011. Credit: Jeff Busby

A brand new, exciting outdoor arts festival has opened in Watford today bringing free entertainment to audiences from across the town and beyond.

Running from 20 June to 3 July, Imagine Watford was made possible with an £80,000 Grants for the arts award from Arts Council England alongside contributions from other partners, Watford Borough Council, BBC Concert Orchestra, Watford Colosseum, West Herts College, Rifco Arts, Warner Brothers, Hertfordshire County Council, Watford Football Club.

Funded by the National Lottery, Grants for the arts awards are for projects carried out over a set period which engage people in England in arts activities, and help artists and arts organisations carry out their work.

The event will bring Watford's High Street and Parade to life, from Watford Palace Theatre to Watford Colosseum with performances happening in some unusual places - including a shipping container and a hidden back-street location.

The festival will feature performances from internationally-celebrated artists, with shows including the magical aerial acrobatics of The Dream Engine's The Heliosphere in which a performer suspended beneath a giant balloon flies down to meet members of the public. Another popular act will be The Three Belles by celebrated Australian company Strange Fruit. Perched atop long flexible poles the artists, clad in vibrant costumes, bend and sway, combining elements of theatre, dance and circus to create a truly original and awe-inspiring performance.

Acclaimed performance and live art company 30 Bird Productions will be parked in the middle of the High Street, for their show Chodzenie-Siberia - a surprise encounter performed on and around a military truck. Floating four metres in the air, Mr and Mrs Novak tell us stories of a journey made by hundreds of thousands of migrating Polish captives of War from Siberia to Iran.

The fortnight-long spectacular will also feature participants from the local area - including 200 children from Hertfordshire schools, and Watford-based Rifco Arts staging work as part of the festival.

Mathew Russell, Festival Director and Executive Director of Watford Palace Theatre, said: 'With more than 80 performances from internationally-acclaimed artists, Imagine Watford will transform the public realm through a fortnight of extraordinary, world-class performance. The festival has been created by the Watford Cultural Leaders Group which brings together a unique range of cultural organisations and funders.'

Claudia West, Relationship Manager for theatre at Arts Council England said: 'Imagine Watford is a fantastic celebration of culture that showcases high quality art by local and international talent in the centre of Watford helping to attract new audiences to visit the cultural organisations in the town. With large-scale exciting free arts events on offer, this festival has a wide appeal and embodies the Arts Council's vision of great art for everyone.'

All events during the festival are free and most do not require a ticket. Where an event does require a ticket, it can be obtained from Watford Palace Theatre or The Ticket Shop in John Lewis Watford. On the day of the event, remaining tickets are available from the Information Point on the High Street.

To find out more about Imagine Watford go to the website, twitter or facebook pages.

To learn more about Grants for the arts visit the page on our website.