promotional image for "The 'Oss and the Ox"
promotional image for "The 'Oss and the Ox"

This will be opened on 20 June by Mary Portas. It's the biggest cultural activities programme launched in the town and will run through into 2015. It will showcase Watford's diversity and creativity, featuring dance, drama, fashion, films and the newly refurbished Parade area with many events free of charge.

Imagine itself takes over the town centre between 19 and 29 June with a wealth of national and international performances in a bewildering array of genres. Some companies from the European mainland are making return visits; others are new. It all gets off to a spectacular start in the early evening of 20 June with Hot Off the Press, a fireworks display from Alchemy Fireworks inspired by Watford's prnting and paper heritage.

One of the most interesting is a dance and music work by Kate Flatt The 'Oss and the Ox receiving its world première. It's the first time this choreographer has devised a piece for outdoor performance and – most appropriately – fuses Brazilian and (very) old English folk traditions. The original music is by Adriano Adewole.

Motionhouse return with a new piece called Underground, very appropriately for a town served by both underground and overground railways. Productions Imperdibles from Spain this year offers La Mirada Interior while France's Tango Sumo presents Second Round. Curious Directive's The Kindness of Strangers offers an insight into the NHS through the work of paramedics in an ambulance.

The Legend of Hambo is the première of a work of physical theatre by Tiata Fahodzi. It is among the commissions for this year by the Palace Theatre and the Docklands Festival. At the revitalised Pond, there's Spacecadets Air Design's The Extraordinary Garden, which doesn't grow quite as you might expect! You cab sample Dining Al Fiasco, courtesy of The Dan Tien's 3 Heads or blink with The Eyes Have It by Bread & Goose.

Tangled Feet take over the newly opened bridge linking the two sides of the High Street with The Crossing. Perhaps you might prefer The Itinerant Music Hall by Flipping the Bird or sample the life of a bus-shelter with Light the Fuse's Full Stop. Acrojou lives up to its name with The Wheel House while Bucket Club pursue The Beasts. Circ Panic offers The Man Who Lost His Buttons.

Larger – much larger – than life are Picto Facto's Brimborions, bright French confections which hang above the pavements to entertain passers-by, and to play tricks on them. And, if you know Brussels' Manneken Pis, then look our for Avanti Display's The Spurting Man with a soundtrack of Ravel's Bolero and a great deal of water.