Following an enforced fallow year, we’re delighted to see the return of the Manchester International Festival, with the full programme announced on the 28th April. This is a world-renowned 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.
Highlights of the 2019 festival were David Lynch’s complete takeover of HOME, curated by Sarah Perks and Omar Kholeif with Mary Anne Hobbs & Jason Wood. The master of American surrealist cinema and all-round visionary pioneer presented the first major UK exhibition of his paintings, sculpture and drawings, coupled with a series of one-off live shows by Lynch-inspired musicians, and an associated film programme spanning the duration of MIF19.
Alongside this, the equally iconic queen of contemporary art Yoko Ono launched the festival with a sort of mass ‘happening’, involving 8,000 members of the public who formed an orchestra of bells in Cathedral Gardens and sent a message of peace to the world – echoing the sentiment behind John Lennon’s Imagine.
And over at Mayfield depot, 59 Productions and Rambert staged the world premiere of Invisible Cities – a spectacular new take on the Italian writer Italo Calvino’s classic 1972 tale of alternate worlds, featuring a spellbinding mix of theatre, choreography, music, architectural design and projection mapping. And legendary Cuban artist and activist Tania Bruguera (who was recently arrested and went on hunger strike in protest against new censorship laws in her home country) presented School of Integration at Manchester Art Gallery – a curriculum of free classes delivered by residents of the city originally from elsewhere.
Needless to say, we’re looking forward to seeing what MIF has planned for 2021. With the factory still on track to open in 2021, we’re excited to see where Manchester’s flagship cultural event goes next.
We’ll bring you the full lineup for MIF21 as soon as we know more.
Here are our picks