The first two shows for the bi-annual Manchester International Festival were announced yesterday. Following on from 2011’s season, which included the world premiere of Bjork’s Biophilia and a performance by blind musicians Amadou and Mariam in complete darkness, the celebration of new work returns 4-21 July 2013. A performance of Macbeth with Sir Kenneth Branagh in the leading role marks the actor’s return to the Shakespearean stage after a break of decade. Rumour has it that this show might take place at the renovated former church of St Peter’s in Ancoats. Whatever the venue, the event is likely to attract the attention of the world’s media even if a play starring Branagh isn’t a radical concept in itself. Reflecting the more innovative side of the commissioning process, the XX will be in residence throughout, hosting a series of 17 intimate, secret shows for just 70 people per performance. Tickets for both events go on sale in January, with more announcements expected soon.

Manchester International Festival 2013 (MIF13), Thu 4 July – Sun 21 Jul 2013, various venues,

Joshua Gordon
Published on:
Thu 15 Nov 2012