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Manchester International Festival 2015 - What's On

By Ben Bunce

You've probably heard a lot of Manchester International Festival talk recently, and that's because it's coming back this 2015! After the huge success last year Manchester will be welcoming artists from all over the world this July for 18 days of artistic extravaganza! Music, dance, film, photography and all sorts of magical theatre goodness is to be expected for the whole family. If you are yet to take part in this wonderful festival, here is what you need to know.

A little bit of History

Led by a very inspiring group of artists the Manchester International Festival launched in 2007 presenting new works and original pieces from across the spectrum of performing arts, visual arts and even pop culture. MIF works with co-commissioning partners around the world which allows them to showcase new productions every year. These new MIF shows open in Manchester and are then performed to audiences around the world in major cities such as New York, Madrid and many more.

Why We Love MIF

MIF is one of those events where you find something for everyone. Whether you like abstract pieces and out there productions or simply enjoy a good jump up and down, Manchester International Festival has it all! It's like the pick and mix of live entertainment with shows ranging from small dance pieces to concert like gigs featuring big names. And the best part, they have never ever been seen anywhere else in the world! The festival is also very kid friendly so if you are free and fancy taking the young ones out for a day of culture, join the swarms of art lovers and get involved this year.

MIF 2015 - What's on this year!

The Skriker – Starring Maxine Peak 

Maxine Peake plays shapeshifter, The Skriker, in a landmark revival of Caryl Churchill’s extraordinary story of a faerie that has travelled from the Underworld to pursue and entrap people through time and space. Peake returns to the festival after an explosive performance at MIF13 in Shelley’s The Masque of Anarchy and fresh from her leading role in Hamlet (2014) at Manchester’s Royal Exchange.

Bjork – Plus Guests

Bjork makes her first visit back to European soil, after the release of new album Vulnicura, at MIF15. During her career she's won 4 Brit Awards, 4 MTV Music Video Awards and has had 30 singles reach the Top 40 singles charts around the world. The Icelandic singer-songwriter with an eclectic musical style will play a special one-off gig at Manchester’s Castlefield Arena on 5 July. 

Neck of the Woods

In a collaboration between Turner Prize-winning artist Douglas Gordan and acclaimed pianist Helene Grimaud, Neck of the Woods paints a unique portrait of the wolf in an artistic mash-up of visual art, music and theatre. The Sacred Sounds Women’s Choir, first formed as part of MIF13, will perform as part of the soundscape to this production. 

Tree of CodesA contemporary Ballet

Tree of Codes is the fruit of collaboration between Wayne McGregor (Resident choreographer of the Royal Ballet) Olafur Eliasson (visual Artist) and Jamie xx (Mercury prize-winning composer). Inspired by Foer's novel The Tree of Codes, this contemporary ballet is performed by soloists from the Paris Opera Ballet and dancers  from Wayne McGregor | Random Dance. Over the past two years, the creative team have worked hard at recreating the beautiful artwork and feel of the novel.

Tree of codes - MIF - ATG Tickets

The Tale of Mr Tumble - MIF - ATG Tickets

The Tale of Mister Tumble Starring Justin Fletcher.

One for the children and the family, this adorable show written by Justin Fletcher and Will Benton can be seen in the beautiful surroundings of Manchester's Opera House. Children will get the chance to meet the popular TV character Mr Tumble himself along with his family members including Grandpa Tumble and Tootsie. As they take you through a funny and heart warming story, expect audience participation and bundles of laughter. This high energy is one of MIF's own productions. 

The Age of Starlight - The origin of the Universe - Tickets released soon

A high-tech, computer tastic, 3D show directer by Oscar winning Kevin MacDonald.
We are constantly asking ourselves about the origin of the universe and how we came about. Well brace yourself because this show will have you floating into outer space and exploring everything within the universe; something that we have heavily seen in the news recently.  Professor Brian Cox will be there exploring all the unlikely events that have shaped our world from the big bang to the planet today. See the universe through cutting edge Cinematic technology created by Rony Abovitz from Magic leap.

Wonder.land - MIF - ATG Tickets


Wonder.land is an exciting new musical inspired by Lewis Carroll' iconic Alice in Wonderland! With music by Damon Albarn and book and lyrics by Moira Buffini, the production will be directed by the National Theatre's incoming Director Rufus Norris.This twist on a classic brings the adored Alice to the modern world. Bullied at school and unhappy at home, Aly finds happiness in the mysterious world of the web, allowing her to escape her parents, her teachers and even herself.

FKA Twigs

Over a seven-day timescale, FKA Twigs and collaborators are set to create seven short films, with audiences invited into their studio during the day to observe the process as it unfolds. Labelled as one of the most exciting artists of the last ten years, FKA Twigs’ has received universal praise from an abundance of music critics over the years and was once described to have rewritten the sound of modern music.

For a full list of the events scheduled for Manchester International Festival 2015, check out their official website by clicking here.

Good to know...

MIF are offering memberships to help you get the most out of the Festival this year. Expect priority booking 24 Hours before tickets go on sale and benefit from some pretty awesome offers throughout the festival including backstage passes and more. To find out more click here.

More shows to be announced here!

In the meantime, take a look at a few Highlights from past Festivals...

MIF 2013 Highlights

Before discovering the Manchester International 2015 Line up, let's look at some highlights from the last festival.

Music - Goldfrap

With her stunning vocals, Alison Goldfrapp packed out houses and left audiences spellbound with the world premiere performance of her latest album Tales of Us. Alison was joined on stage by RNCM's string orchestra making it an extremely powerful concert with ethereal sounds and stunning harmonies. Held in the Albert Hall; the encore which included some of the band's most ppopular tracks, was accompanied by the choir.

Drama - Macbeth

Starring Alex Kingston as Lady Macbeth, Kenneth Branagh's return to Shakespeare was a complete knock out! Audiences found themselves immerged in the action sat just inches away from all the dramatic battle scenes. Kenneth Branagh's interpretation was powerful and filled the St Peter's church with blood, mud, fire and rain; a venue that had never been used for live performances before. 

Visual Art - Long Grass

A stunning visual masterpiece created in collaboration with a group of youngsters that explores the fears and memories of child soldiers. Long Grass revisits the nature of war in parallel with the innocents of children around the world. With Dominique Pauwels' haunting music and impressive visuals by Kurt d'Haeseleer's, the audience were taken on a touching journey, blurring the lines between youth and adulthood.