Manchester International Festival

11 Jul , 2023

This biennial festival is in full swing! Famous for cutting across boundaries, where inter-disciplinary pieces combine different media and disciplines of art and 21st century cultures. The 18 days of the festival’s duration will showcase events, performances, and happenings from performers from the UK and around the world. With poetry, art, and theatre, the themes cover a wide range of topics and everyone is encouraged to join in. The Barmy Army set things off with an event highlighting the need, long overdue, for a change in attitude and the need to address mental health issues especially in younger people. At one level this is art and at another it is activism,led by young people for others that need this crisis to be focused on more directly -with action. Actors, singers and musicians take us on a multi-faceted journey in a musical adaptation of The Faggots and Their Friends Between Revolutions. Depicting a magical and queer view of the world found to be on the cusp of revolution – expect battles combined with cheer leading, all-night raves in counterpoint with song accompanying the lute, and dances from distant royal courts. Whilst German theatre group Rimini Protkcoll, one of Europe’s leading contemporary theatre groups, bring us a contemplative and moving piece. Relating what details are known about the sudden and never explained loss of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 and interlaced as the story unfolds, with the gradual slow loss to dementia of a father. The performance from this extraordinary theatre group is compelling.

MIF23 is all around us

The Manchester International Festival events can be found in different venues and open spaces around the city, but Factory International’s new home, so long looked forward to opening, now welcomes the Festival for it first gathering, several months in advance of their official opening in October.But regular theatre goers will find Kimber Lee’s untitled f*ck m*ss s**gon at The Royal Exchange Theatre, and the Aviva Studios hosts Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama’s – You, Me and the Balloons. This incredible artist, loved throughout the world, fills the space with her inflatable artworks which form an immersive experience taking us into her world and beyond ourselves as we are absorbed into her alternative universe. Ryan Gander invites us to look at our surroundings more closely and discover the treasure he has left around the city, small coins left for us to find, if only we look! With three of these small artworks to collect and read their messages, we find that they have so much to tell us. At The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, the magnificent Maxine Peake brings the book “They” to life.

With such diverse performances, readings, poetry, performances and experiences for Manchester and its visitors, The Manchester International Festival is here to make us think, explore, listen, consider, and sometimes be lost in the beauty of the moment as they have presented it to us.