Immersive City

Manchester International Festival (MIF) celebrates the heart and creativity of the city with 18 days of innovative programming. For the first time, MIF launches with a large-scale public event on 29 June. What Is the City but the People? provides an opportunity for a unique selection of individuals from across Manchester to walk along a runaway through Piccadilly Gardens. Inspired by an idea from artist Jeremy Deller, the event features live music from Graham Massey, supported by a line-up of local musicians. Participants have been recruited through open auditions prior to the festival, ensuring that the people of Manchester are its core.

MIF brings audiences through the end of June and into July with its programme. Highlights include a collaboration between Manchester musical legends New Order and visual artist Liam Gillick for five special performances at Old Granada Studios; Manchester Art Gallery’s major new exhibition True Faith which explores ongoing significance of Joy Division and New Order; and What if Women Ruled the World? where artist Yael Bartana enlists international female experts alongside a cast of leading actresses to help answer this most relevant of questions.

The visual arts remains a strong component of the festival with ToGather – an exploration of the stories of migrants to Manchester by Egyptian-born artist Susan Hefuna at the Whitworth. The exhibition also features a public performance developed with Company Wayne McGregor and 20 people who have recently arrived in the city. Continuing the theme of new arrivals is The Welcoming Party, a new work for children and families by acclaimed company Theatre-Rites which uses puppetry and immersive theatre to tell the stories of young people who have travelled to Manchester.

Bringing artistic giants together is Available Light at Factory. In this revival of an iconic performance, choreographer Lucinda Childs, composer John Adams and architect Frank Gehry join forces once again to provide an ideal fusion of music, movement and art. First staged in 1983, this renewed performance combines Gehry’s backdrop designs playfully, a hypnotic soundtrack from Adams and Childs’ intricate choreography that plays with notions of space and time.

The Festival’s debate strand invites audiences to debate today’s hot-button topics: power, heroes, community, technology, anger and change. Curated by MIF, FutureEverything, The Guardian and VICE, Interdependence: We Need to Talk features artists from the festival and beyond. 2017 is a year for more music, not only with the New Order and Joy Division-dedicated exhibitions but also events staged at the festival’s own Pavilion Theatre. Also in the line-up are one-off gigs from Arcade Fire, Sampha, Bonobo and new music from a resurgent Ride.

Manchester International Festival, 29 June – 16 July, venues across Manchester.

Find out more:

1. Available Light, 1983.