Manchester International Festival will soon be upon us, with its 40 cultural events taking place throughout the city. There are concerts, exhibitions, screenings, talks, and some things that seem to defy easy categorisation. It’s such as promising line-up that several of the events have already sold out. Here’s five others that we think you should get tickets for PDQ before they’re all gone…
Janelle Monáe at Castlefield Bowl
This exclusive gig marks the official opening of the Festival. Known for her spectacular live performances, this R&B/psychedelic soul singer will be sure to electrify this outdoor venue. Monáe has been a musical force to be reckoned with since her debut album The ArchAndroid, which was rated by many critics to be the best of its year. She also achieved great acclaim with 2018’s Dirty Computer, which reached Top 10 on both sides of the Atlantic. Don’t miss this concert, as it’s one of only two UK dates she will be playing this year.
Thu 4 Jul, Castlefield Bowl, Duke Street/Liverpool Road, Castlefield, Manchester, M3 4JR, 7pm, £10 – £35, mif.co.uk/janelle-monae
Tree at Upper Campfield Market Hall
Created by Idris Elba and Kwame Kwei-Armah, this drama featuring music and dance follows one man’s journey into the heart of contemporary South Africa. A family tragedy finally forces Londoner Kaleo to visit his ancestral home country for the first time. Here, he finds hidden histories in a nation haunted by the ghosts of its own turbulent past. It stars Alfred Enoch and Sinéad Cusack, with music inspired by Idris Elba’s album ‘Mi Mandela’. The audience stands at the centre of the action, with the performance unfolding around them.
Sat 29 Jun – Sat 13 Jul, Upper Campfield Market Hall, Campfield Avenue Arcade, Castlefield, Manchester, M3 4FH, 8pm, £10 – £35, mif.co.uk/tree
Invisible Cities at Mayfield
An innovative mix of theatre, music, architectural design and projection mapping, this show imagines a succession of alternative worlds. It centres on the relationship between Kublai Khan, the volatile head of a vast empire, and Marco Polo, who must transcend a language barrier to describe the world to him. City by unseen city, the young explorer conjures from the aether a vast and spectacular empire – all for the benefit of its leader, who may never get to see it for himself. The show was created especially for the venue: a former railway depot turned arts space.
Tue 2 Jul – Sun 14 Jul, Mayfield, Baring Street, M1 2PZ, 8pm/2.30pm, £10 – £35, mif.co.uk/invisible-cities
Leningrad at Bridgewater Hall
Sir Mark Elder, the Music Director of the Hallé, and Johan Simons, the acclaimed Dutch theatre director, are in the process of creating a new work. It’s inspired by two artists and their experiences living on a knife edge in the Soviet Union: composer Dmitri Shostakovich and novelist Vasily Grossman. For this event, Elder and Simons will be discussing this new work before a performance of Shostakovich’s epic Symphony No.7 – ‘Leningrad’. Written for more than 100 musicians, it was first performed during the siege of the composer’s home city during WWII.
Thu 11 Jul, Bridgewater Hall, Lower Mosley Street, Manchester, M2 3WS, Tel: 0161 907 9000, 7.30pm, £10-£34, mif.co.uk/leningrad
Tao of Glass at the Royal Exchange
This world premier is a collaboration between the acclaimed composer Philip Glass and performer-director Phelim McDermott. The duo have worked together before on acclaimed opera productions in London, New York and beyond, but this is their most personal collaboration yet. Part-concert, part-performance, the show is a storytelling tapestry, set to Glass’s distinctive minimalist music. It marries several meditations on life, death and wisdom from the ancient Chinese philosophy of Taoism. Featuring 10 brand new pieces of music from Glass, McDermott presents with an ensemble of musicians and puppeteers.
Thu 18 Jul – Sat 20 Jul, Royal Exchange Theatre, St. Ann’s Square, Manchester, M2 7DH, Tel: 0161 833 9833, 7.30pm/2.30pm, £13 – £41, mif.co.uk/tao-of-glass
To The Moon At The Royal Exchange
American Artist Laurie Anderson joins forces with fellow creative Hsin-Chien Huang to transport us to the stars in celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the moon landing. This innovative new show is due to take place in The Royal Exchange Theatre’s intimate studio space and will invite attendees to don VR visors for an experience that takes us on our very own lunar journey and exploration expedition. Afterwards, ticket holders will get to explore the second part of Anderson and Huang’s work – an art installation boasting video, images and music.
Fri 12 – Sat 20 Jul, Royal Exchange Theatre, St. Ann’s Square, Manchester, M2 7DH, Tel: 0161 833 9833, 11-9pm daily, £5, www.mif.co.uk/whats-on/to-the-moon/
Alphabus at Great Northern Warehouse
Manchester’s spoken word collective Young Identity team up with New York dance choreographer and FlexN Manchester mastermind Reggie ‘Regg Roc’ Gray and a selection of international and local dancers for Alphabus, a new show that explores strengths, weaknesses, triumph, tragedies and antiheroes. Pulling from a selection of global myths, faiths and traditions, this thrilling performance mixes street dance with the poetry prowess that helped put Young Identity on the map. With an eclectic range of influences and creative talents on display, Alphabus celebrates the collaborative ethos championed by MIF.
Fri 05 – Sun 07 Jul, Unit 5, Great Northern Warehouse, 235 Deansgate, M3 4EN, Tel: 0161 832 8136, full schedule available on MIF site, £10, www.mif.co.uk/whats-on/alphabus/
A Drunk Pandemic at Victoria Station Tunnels
Head into the Victoria Station tunnels with Contact Theatre and Tokyo collective Chim↑Pom to explore the cholera epidemic of the 1830s. It was this 200 year old tragedy that resulted in thousands being buried underneath Victoria Station and Angel Meadow, with the those lucky enough to survive only scraping through by drinking beer instead of the city’s contaminated water. With this in mind, Contact and Chim↑Pom will be constructing a temporary brewery beneath the streets, allowing visitors to have a drink, take part in a pub quiz, witness their Sanitising The Working Class event and expect the unexpected…
Fri 05 Jul – Sun 21 Jul, Victoria Station Tunnels, £4-£5 depending on event, www.mif.co.uk/whats-on/a-drunk-pandemic/
Published on: Tue 2 Jul 2019