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, the next MIF will be the first under new Artistic Director John McGrath, who took over from founding Artistic Director Alex Poots in 2015. An early snapshot of the 2017 programme indicates that next year’s offering will have a particularly community-led feel, with What Is the City but the People?, conceived by artist Jeremy Deller, inviting locals to open the festival by parading across a specially-designed walkway in Piccadilly Gardens. The international artists announced so far include Charmatz, Yael Bartana, Vicky Featherstone, Scott Graham, Karl Hyde and Simon Stephens, with the full MIF17 programme to be announced on 9 March 2017. Also announced for autumn 2016 is My Festival: MIF’s Creative Community, a new year-round initiative designed to build ongoing relationships between MIF and local people through creative projects, skills development and training and more.