Slater B. Bradley Factory Icon, 2000/2017 Courtesy Slater Bradley Studio, Berlin and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles/New York/Tokyo© Slater B. Bradley

Manchester International Festival 2017

Polly Checkland Harding, Exhibitions Editor

Manchester International Festival is the world’s first festival of original work and special events – a biennial celebration of performance, art, music, theatre and more, which marries the world’s best-known artists with Manchester’s cultural institutions. Returning 29 June – 16 July 2017, MIF17 is the first festival under Artistic Director John McGrath. So, what’s new? This year’s programme is particularly theatre-heavy, as you might expect from the Founding Artistic Director of the National Theatre of Wales: it includes ‘songs and stories from a forgotten England’ Fatherland, the multi-layered Returning to Reims and interactive performance Party Skills at the End of the World (with accompanying last suppers from celebrated Manchester chef Mary-Ellen McTague). Music is represented both in live gigs (including a strong Pavilion Theatre line-up in collaboration with Sounds From the Other City) and a major exhibition of visual art inspired by Joy Division and New Order at Manchester Art Gallery. Typically for MIF, there are some events that are hard to categorise, such as superb-sounding ‘art experiment’ What if Women Ruled the World? and Last and First Men, a film and live score by Oscar-nominated Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson. Over 30 artists are taking part in the festival, hailing from cities as diverse as Berlin, Cairo, Karachi and New York; the astonishing work that they are bringing to Manchester looks set to make Manchester International Festival 2017 another unparalleled cultural event in the city.


Here are our picks

Things to do right now

Powered by culturehosts
22–23 March 2017, from £12.00

Berlin: Zvizdal

Cinema 3–23 March 2017, from £5.00

New Release: Certain Women at HOME

Theatre 22–23 March 2017, from £10.00

If These Spasms Could Speak at HOME

Literature 14–25 March 2017, from £10.00


Visual Arts 8–25 March 2017, FREE

French & Mottershead: Afterlife at the Whitworth

Theatre 8–25 March 2017,

SICK! Festival

Exhibitions 4 February–29 March 2017, FREE

John Hyatt: Rock Art at HOME

Cinema 10 February–29 March 2017, from £5.00

New Release: Moonlight at HOME

Cinema 16 February–30 March 2017, from £7.00

Film Season: David Cronenberg

The Suppliant Women
Theatre 10 March–1 April 2017, from £16.50

The Suppliant Women at Royal Exchange Theatre