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The best entertainment this weekend with your clothes on

Published on June 1st 2007.

Confidential choice

Feast! is a combination of two international companies, one from Spain, one from the Netherlands with over 60 different British based groups performing over the weekend, several from cultural minority communities resident in Manchester.

Thousands of picnickers (weather permitting), some bringing performances and decorations along with their picnics will gather on Platt Fields Park for the 3 day festival.

This year there is a larger programme of outdoor theatre, music, dance, circus, strolling musicians, games and activities from the UK and abroad. You can watch and listen, make things, or go boating and canoeing on the lake until nightfall when it ends with two torchlit shows, one a tempestuous flamenco tragedy from Spanish group La Somnámbula, the other the brand new spectacle from British group Avanti Display that uses 1000 litres of water, which then gets recycled into the lake in case you were wondering.

“Watch acrobats leap over under and along a specially constructed bridge with Mimbre and gaze at Space Cadets’ illuminated water lilies in the lake”

Highlights include Ragroof’s ‘Shall we Dance?’ - a heartwarming tale in dance of the history of bandstands through the 20th century, watch acrobats leap over under and along a specially constructed bridge with Mimbre and gaze at Space Cadets’ illuminated water lilies in the lake; dance to the cheesy Village Disco, come face to face with some of earth’s extinct creatures (Pif Paf), learn to be truly green-fingered with Swank (who brought the girl guide camp – or was it camp girl guides? - to us some years ago)

Coincidentally, there will be 2 different productions of Shakespeare’s The Tempest in Manchester next weekend – one at the Royal Exchange and one on the lakeside at Platt Fields Park. Avanti Display, best known for their eponymous ‘Spurting Man’ human fountain that has travelled festivals around the world, are creating a spectacle for the public entitled Stormbringer. Loosely based on The Tempest, it examines some of the magic and mystery of Shakespeare’s play in an outdoor setting, making use of the landscape, the breeze, the water, imaginative lighting and flame as part of the performance. The show premieres in Chatham this weekend and moves to Manchester for Feast on June 1 and 2.

Bubblerama is an ultraviolet jungle trail of scented flower creations. Mouth-watering activities for kids and adults alike.

Not forgetting of course the mass picnic with entertainment for groups, friends and families. Last year, 4,000 people brought food (barbecues and prepared snacks), decorated their own picnic areas and mingled with other picnickers. Dozens of strolling ‘mariarchi-style musicians will play to picnickers at their tables.

Picnic By the Lake at Platt Fields Park Lakeside on Wilmslow Road, Fri 1 June from 7 – 11pm, Sat 2 June from 5 – 11pm and Sun 3 June from 1 – 6pm.

Meanwhile on June 8-9, Manchester outdoor Castlefield Arena will be hosting the first visit to the North West of an astonishing authentic African circus. Circus Baobab will present their performance ‘Jumping Drums’ that uses trapeze, acrobatics and tumbling, along with breathtaking African percussion rhythms, music and dance. On Sat 8 June, there will also be free workshops in dance and acrobatics African-style. For more information go to www.streetsahead.org.uk

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