16 July 2022

12-8pm

Watford town centre (on the Parade)

Watford’s much-loved annual open-air performance festival returns! Join Watford Palace Theatre on 16 July for the biggest street party in town, where you’ll witness the high street transformed into a giant marble run adventure, make friends with a tropical island castaway and his pet lobster, be astounded by a 7-metre-high dance performance, party with Bhangra and Brass music, and much, much more!

A day of summer family fun is guaranteed, as the town centre becomes abuzz with the unexpected magical sights and sounds of spectacular theatre, circus, dance, and music.

Imagine Watford is completely FREE; generously funded by Arts Council England and Watford Borough Council, and sponsored by Frank and Helen Neale.

This year the festival will take place in Watford town centre, between 12-8pm. We can’t wait to see you there!

Imagine Watford is:

Programmed by: Watford Palace Theatre

Funded by: Arts Council England and Watford Borough Council

Sponsored by: Frank and Helen Neale

Click to email us about Imagine Watford

Desert Island Discs

Desert Island Discs

We invite you to jet off to this small tropical island, inhabited by a castaway who is both stranded and trapped in paradise by a rogue shark amongst you! Watch as our castaway makes friends with Larry the lobster, and struggles to survive.  Each time he retires to his hammock, he wakes up years later with a longer beard, clothes more disheveled, and with another crazy plan! Will the castaway be rescued and return to normality, or is he doomed to succumb to this idyllic fate? Desert Island Discs is a delightful one man show with a beautifully surreal and spectacular finale.

Last Orders

Last Orders

Four strangers meet in the local.

They could not be more different. But –

They do have one thing in common…

Thrown together and forced to confront their differences, Last Orders explores the vulnerability beneath male bravado.

With vats of physicality, barrels of humour, and a pounding soundtrack, join us down the local as we explore a future where our differences stop dividing us and, instead, we unite over common ground.

Escape from the everyday, same-old-same-old; 2Faced Dance present this fun and energetic show in unexpected locations.

This is more than just your regular trip to the pub.

Run time: 30 minutes

Trigger warnings: anyone can watch Last Orders but there may be moments within the dance piece that some people might be sensitive to or find upsetting. Last Orders taps into real life worries and relationships between a group of young men.

Whilst Last Orders may contain tough ideas like bullying and aggression, we would never suggest these are acceptable behaviours.

Last orders contains depictions of alcohol and excessive drinking, infrequent strong language within the music, raised voices, depictions of fighting between friends, and physical interpretation of mental health issues and anxiety.

Mayfly

Mayfly

Mayfly is a spectacular fusion of water, dance and song. Original music and dance create an immersive atmosphere of togetherness and celebration. A poetic story exploring the fleeting, ephemeral nature of life and how our survival is inextricably linked to our environment. The stage will come to life with water effects and leaping fountains. The fountains provide numerous metaphors, representing obstacles in our lives, the ever changing landscape in which we all live, that nothing stays the same, that we can stand up, overcome and create change. Together we witness this world and the characters within it transform, the effect rippling out to be shared by all.

Norvil & Josephine

Norvil & Josephine

Norvil & Josephine turn the classic notion of a Vaudeville magic act on its head in their show full of comical twists and turns.

Taking place on a giant top hat, they perform breath-taking balancing on the broom illusion, a twinkling tap dance, comical contortions and a sassy escape from the sack of secrets.

Remembering Eden - Marble Run

Remembering Eden - Marble Run

Finding ourselves again

Into the garden I go, to rescue my mind and restore my soul…

Ever felt like the world was going mad, and somehow, no matter how hard you tried, you couldn’t make sense of it? In the aftermath of Covid and the war in Ukraine, the artist felt that people needed a restorative and engaging local creative project that promoted childlike awe and hopefulness amidst rising uncertainty, as an antidote to fears around climate change and our physical stability. There is an unnerving theme among the zeitgeist that we are bystanders in our own future and the demise of the environment is inevitable, when in fact we are still in a window of opportunity to do great things. When life is given a chance, it thrives. As many of our institutions and lives have recently been shaken, the artwork reflects the indomitable growth and rebirth of life despite complex adversity. Creativity gives us the ability to imagine without limits, and when we are inspired, we can come up with some of the most surprising and hopeful solutions to the most poignant questions. Like an abandoned ruin emerging from the undergrowth, perceptions of human fragility and temporality are questioned as even the tiniest of flowers will grow within the cracks of our most barren places. Life has a way of overcoming, and there is meaning, even in detritus.

Would you like to get involved in building the marble run? Click the link below for more information.

Help build the Watford town centre marble run!

Serving Sounds

Serving Sounds

There’s nothing like your local. There’s nothing like it.

Serving Sounds is a multi-sensory sound installation that creates connections through music – a bar that serves bass rather than beer.

There’s nothing like a pint at your local. There’s nothing like hanging out in the beer garden at your local. There’s nothing like it. There’s nothing like the footie, a fag and a pint at your local. There’s nothing like curry night Wednesdays, a beer of my choice and a tikka masala for 6 quid! Friday, the 2 for 1 cocktails. There’s nothing like the sound of the fruities and the hustle at the pool tables. The regular’s discount, the stains, the smells, the lads, the ladies, the loos, dance moves, the banter, the booze, the bar knowing your order, the spilt drinks, the sticky shoes. The “I’m just going to have one”, the “just one more”. The ‘DING DING’ “LAST ORDERS?”

Age guidance: none (please note, the bar serves MUSIC rather than alcohol, and The Working Boys Club does not promote smoking, gambling or excessive drinking).

Story Bees

Story Bees

Create, play, make and imagine. If you’re aged 0-7, become a Story Bee and help us build a story. Using drama, games, art and movement join us for a buzzing 30-minute story adventure. Who knows where you’ll end up!

You can sign up to these sessions on the day. Please note that children must have their grown-ups with them at all times.

The Elementals

The Elementals

An architectural oddity, The Elementals is the sculpture that comes to town in a unique, otherworldly event.

Performed by experienced mime artists they move from state to state, from statue to choreographed ensemble movement in the blink of an eye.

Born from alien imagination the Elementals see form, shape and space as their language.

The Happy Prince

The Happy Prince

“I can see all the ugliness and all the misery of my city, and though my heart is made of lead yet I cannot choose but weep.”

After a life of privilege, the statue of The Happy Prince now spends his days witnessing the town’s poverty, powerless to help. Until, one day, a swallow takes shelter between the statue’s feet. The two form a beautiful friendship, working together to help those most in need. But how much are they prepared to sacrifice, and what will they be remembered for when they have nothing left to give?

Told with a brilliant blend of vibrant puppetry, striking storytelling and a folk-pop fusion of music and song, PackPack Theatre present an energetic and enchanting adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s classic short story, for 7–11-year-olds and their families.

Run time: 25 minutes

Age guidance: 7+

Timeless

Timeless

Timeless is about the passing of time and the fear that we as humanity are literally running out of it. Joli Vyann uses their unique and dynamic style of dance, circus and theatre on a 7m high rotating hourglass, to tell the story of civilisation as we know it and its fragile relationship with time and nature. The performance moves through a narrative of climate change, its consequences and the larger question of how humanity copes with the precarious balance that could at any point tip into chaos. 4 Performers dance, leap, gracefully balance and throw themselves with acrobatic prowess around, on and inside the rotating hourglass. This is a dare devil yet poignantly sensitive representation of the ambiguous nature of time and the threat of irreversibility in relation to climate change.

Funded by Arts Council England and Without Walls Consortium. Co-commissioned by Norfolk and Norwich Festival, Stockton International Riverside Festival, Timber Festival, Salisbury Festival. Arts by the Sea Festival, Merchant City Festival, Watford Palace and The Point.

Bhangra & Brass

Bhangra & Brass

We like to end the festival with a party! Join Ronak Mela Baja – Dhol & Brass Band to dance into the evening with Bhangra music and dancing. Professional dancers will perform and then help you learn the moves. Just bring your dancing feet and a spirit of joy!

Ronak Mela Baja, a London-based Bollywood and Bhangra brass band, add fun and melody with a marching band consisting of brass and dhol, playing a variety of filmi and Bhangra songs. Ronak Mela Baja have performed in Monte Carlo (Monaco), Rome (Italy), Palma (Spain), Montreux (Switzerland), Bali and even taken our band over to New Delhi, India.