manchester international festival
Matthew Placek | © Yoko Ono

MIF19 – Manchester International Festival

Creative Tourist

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.

Manchester International Festival recently announced the first artists for its 2019 programme. We’re thrilled that Yoko Ono, Janelle Monáe, Idris Elba and Skepta are all set to feature in MIF19 which will run from 4 -21 July. Each commission at the festival will offer a particularly distinctive view on our world and how we relate to it.

The full 2019 line-up won’t be out until next year, but 2017’s programme was particularly theatre-heavy, as you might expect from the Founding Artistic Director of the National Theatre of Wales: it included ‘songs and stories from a forgotten England’ Fatherland, the multi-layered Returning to Reims and interactive performance Party Skills for the End of the World (with accompanying last suppers from celebrated Manchester chef Mary-Ellen McTague). Music was 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.

One of MIF17’s standout events, What Is the City but the People?, recently picked up a Manchester Culture Award too.

Over 30 artists took part in the festival, hailing from cities as diverse as Berlin, Cairo, Karachi and New York; the astonishing work that they brought to Manchester made the 2017 edition another unparalleled cultural event.

Here are our picks

Things to do right now

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Mandy Barker: Hong Kong Soup at CFCCA Manchester
Exhibitions 12 October 2018–20 January 2019, FREE

Mandy Barker: Hong Kong Soup at CFCCA

Charwei Tsai: Bulaubulau at CFCCA
Exhibitions 12 October 2018–20 January 2019, FREE

Charwei Tsai: Bulaubulau at CFCCA

ReFrame at Manchester Art Gallery
Exhibitions 20 October 2018–20 January 2019, FREE

ReFrame at Manchester Art Gallery

Cinema 7 December 2018–20 January 2019, from £5

Slapstick Film Season at HOME

HOME at Christmas
Festivals 13 December 2017–20 January 2019,

HOME at Christmas

PUSH Festival 2019 at HOME
Festivals 11–26 January 2019,

PUSH Festival 2019 at HOME

Exhibitions 12 January–1 February 2019, FREE

Motion Sickness at STOCK Gallery

The Producers - A Mel Brooks Musical at the Royal Exchange
Music 30 November 2018–2 February 2019, from £10.00

The Producers – A Mel Brooks Musical at the Royal Exchange

Outdoor Art Club at The Whitworth
Families 19 January–9 February 2019, FREE

Outdoor Art Club at The Whitworth