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Manchester International Festival 2017 – A Celebration of the City

Not all summer festivals require wellies. Just look at Manchester International Festival, the celebration of creativity, culture and live performance which returns next week. There’s plenty to see throughout its jam-packed 18 day line-up so lets have a look at a few things to get excited about…

What is the City But The People?

The festival kicks things off by inviting people from all corners of the city to become part of the art in interactive installation What is the City But the People?. Attendees will get the chance to take centre stage in the festival’s opening celebration as they walk through a catwalk in Piccadilly Gardens that stretches more than 100 meters. Graham Massey will be on hand to soundtrack the event along with a handful of local musicians to help get the festival off to a communal start.

Cotton Panic and Returning To Reims

Covering all the bases, MIF has an exciting roster of theatre productions scattered throughout this year’s festival that range from apocalypse tips in Party Skills For The End of The World and a reflection on the complexities of fatherhood in Fatherland. Continuing with its Manchester focus, Cotton Panic promises an ‘industrial music drama’ from Lancashire native Jane Horrocks inspired by the city’s working class heritage. Meanwhile, Returning To Reims invites innovative theatre maker and Artistic Director of Berlin’s Schaubühne Thomas Ostermeier to adapt Dieder Eribon’s communism-infused memoir with the help of Homeland’s Nina Hoss. See the world premiere here at HOME on 5 July.

So It Goes and True Faith

No festival would be complete without a bit of live music and this year MIF has some special (and sure to be sold out) events up its sleeve. In addition to Arcade Fire’s much anticipated visit to Castlefield Bowl, Manchester vets New Order will take over the Old Granada Studios to reinvent their back catalogue with the help of visual artist Liam Gillick. So It Goes promises to deconstruct material from the band’s extensive career and will feature live performances on a dynamic stage with an ensemble of synthesisers. Meanwhile, True Faith, a new exhibition exploring the legacy of Joy Division, can be found at Manchester Art Gallery providing the perfect opportunity to sample the city’s amazing arty offerings.

Get Social At Festival Square

Manchester’s Albert Square will once again play host to the Festival Square, providing a suitably social hub and meeting point for this year’s festival. In addition to pop-up bars and outside seating areas (here’s hoping the sunshine sticks around), MIF’s pavilion tent will welcome a variety of live music and theatre performances as well as a handful of DJ sets. You’ll want to head here for MIF’s opening and closing parties but in between it’s worth keeping an eye out for the likes of London’s House Gospel Choir and sets from Leeds lads Hookworms and Manchester’s own Spring King.

Engels Returns HOME

Philosopher, writer and communism co-founder Friedrich Engels returns to the city where he spent 22 years of his life in a one-off event led by Turner Prize nominated artist Phil Collins. To close out this year’s festival, Collins will erect a statue of Engels in Tony Wilson Square (just outside our front door) as a permanent feature. The unveiling will also become part of Ceremony, an interactive live event part-hosted at HOME that invites performers, artists and musicians to get involved in a live film that mixes footage from the statue’s travels from Engels in Russia with coverage of its official unveiling. Not to be missed.

Manchester International Festival runs from The 29 June – Sun 16 July 2017. Find out more about the festival here.

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