The bi-annual Manchester International Festival is embracing both the ‘Manchester’ and the ‘International’ to the city for over a fortnight of eclectic shows from around the world and closer to home too. Representing the rainy city will be the likes of New Order and their series of intimate shows with artist Liam Gillick and composer Joe Duddell at Old Granada Studios (Thu 29 Jun, Sat 1, Thu 6, Thu 13 & Sat 15 Jul), harking back to the band’s former iteration Joy Division as they played their first telly gig for Tony Wilson. Further afield composer Oscar nominated Icelandic composer Johann Johannsson presents Last and First Men (Thu 6 Jul, Bridgewater Hall) with the BBC Philharmonic and narration from Tilda Swinton in a multi media event. Social commentary runs throughout the festival with Jane Horrocks’ cotton famine musical drama Cotton Panic! (Mon 10 – Sat 15 Jul, Upper Campfield Markethall), What If Women Ruled the World? (Wed 5, Fri 7 & Sat 8 Jul, Mayfield Depot by Yael Bartana, pictured) and Fatherland (Sat 1 Jul – Sat 15 Jul, Royal Exchange) two plays looking at gender roles within society and even the family friendly theatre show The Welcoming Party (Tue 4 – Sun 16 Jul, MOSI) looks at the migration issue and encourages children and adults to look at what it feels like to be different. Musical treats include a show from Bonobo at Manchester Cathedral (Tue 4 Jul), a line up curated by Sounds From The Other City in Festival Square featuring Spring King and Hookworms and 6Music DJ Mary Anne Hobbs presenting Dark Matter, a programme of live music at Gorilla and the Ritz in collaboration with lighting designer Stuart Bailes and featuring Holly Herndon and Sunn O)))). Comedy comes from the sleepy Welsh village of Machynlleth with the well respected Mach Fest presenting three days of stand up and sketch at 53two and Anthony Burgess Foundation. Speaking of which, MIF will be celebrating the author and composer’s centenary with the play No End to Enderby (Fri 30 Jun – Sun 16 Jul, The Whitworth) and Raymond Yiu’s specially commissioned song cycle The World Was Once All Miracle (Tue 4 Jul, The Bridgewater Hall). World premieres litter the festival with the ridiculous sounding Party Skills for the End of the World (various times throughout the festival at Mayfield Depot) promising a party with a difference alongside a Dinner Party at the End of the World from celebrated chef Mary Ellen McTague. This year more than ever the festival looks to be putting the ideas first and creating something truly special for the weeks it inhabits. Check out the full line up including works from Underworld, Boris Charmatz, Susan Hefuna and loads more.

Thu 29 Jun – Sun 16 Jul, Manchester International Festival, times, venues and prices vary,

Thu 29 Jun - Sun 16 Jul
John Stansfield
Published on:
Thu 9 Mar 2017