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, 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. 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

  • 1. MIF19: Bells For Peace at Cathedral Gardens

    Bells For Peace at Cathedral Gardens
    Matthew Placek, Copyright Yoko Ono

    Bells For Peace at Manchester Cathedral, Cathedral Quarter, 4 July 2019, free entry - Find Out More

    The opening event of MIF19, Bells for Peace will see Yoko Ono invite the people of Manchester to gather together in Cathedral Gardens to send a message of peace to the world.

  • 2. MIF19: Tree at Upper Campfield Market Hall


    Tree at Upper Campfield Market Hall, Castlefield, 29 June–10 July 2019, from £30 - Book now

    Created by Idris Elba and Kwame Kwei-Armah, Tree will take its audience on a wondrous journey in search of the soul and spirit of present-day South Africa.

  • 3. MIF19: DYSTOPIA987

    Olivia Rose

    DYSTOPIA987, 17–19 July 2019, from £35 - Book now

    Skepta invites you to enter another world in this series of intimate and immersive experiences. Held in a secret Manchester location, DYSTOPIA987 is a waking dream that presents Skepta’s singular vision of the future: deep, dark, radical and riveting.

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