2015 was the fifth Manchester International Festival
The dates of the Festivals are:
MIF07, 28 June – 15 July
MIF09, 2 – 19 July
MIF11, 30 June – 17 July
MIF13, 4 – 21 July
MIF15, 2 - 19 July
What sort of events does the Festival stage?
Manchester International Festival is the world’s first festival of original, new work. The Festival commissions a wide range of work all specially created for the Festival, including music, visual arts, theatre, dance, food and family events, some indoor and some outdoor, all created by internationally acclaimed artists. The work is premiered in Manchester, with many commissions going on to tour the world.
Why does Manchester hold an International Festival?
Manchester International Festival celebrates the city’s pivotal role in music, culture, innovation and the arts, building on the legacy of the hugely successful Commonwealth Games held in Manchester in 2002.
The Festival has now become a major cultural event in the international calendar: an artist-led festival that enables leading international artists to create new work, encouraging local, national and international visitors to Manchester, and providing opportunities for local communities to participate, volunteer and see world-class artists in their city.
Why is the Festival not an annual event?
All of the work presented by the Festival is original, new work, commissioned and produced by the Festival and its partners. The two-year cycle of the Festival allows time to identify and build relationships with leading international artists and to produce the work itself.
During the in-between years many of the shows made for the Festival tour to partner venues and festivals, taking work made in Manchester out to an international audience. A core team works year round on the Festival and on the touring programme.
If I missed the Festival is there any way to see the shows?
Many of the works made for the Festival go on to tour internationally. For information on tour dates and news on MIF shows in other venues, go to the MIF on Tour page on this website.
Several commissions have toured since showing in Manchester, including Tree of Codes, a collaboration between Wayne McGregor, Olafur Eliasson and Jamie xx; and Kenneth Branagh’s Macbeth, which toured to the Park Avenue Armory, New York; The Old Woman, which has toured worldwide, including dates in Athens, Milan, Paris, and New York; while Matthew Barney and Jonathan Bepler’s River of Fundament, previewed at MIF13, continues to tour around the world.
From MIF11, The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic toured to Madrid, Basel, Antwerp and Amsterdam. Dr Dee was at ENO’s home, the Coliseum in London in June 2012 and The Crash of The Elysium went to Ipswich in June. Both were part of the London 2012 Olympic Festival.
From MIF09, Carlos Acosta, Prima Donna, JS Bach / Zaha Hadid Architects, Oily Cart’s Something in the Air, The Difference Engine, Durutti Column’s Paean to Wilson and Young@Heart in End of the Road have all appeared in other cities.
Monkey: Journey to the West from MIF07 appeared at Theatre du Chatelet, Paris, Spoleto Festival, USA, Royal Opera House Covent Garden and a specially built venue at London’s O2.
Have there been any other Festival events?
There were three trailblazers prior to the inaugural Festival in 2007.
The first was Gorillaz: Demon Days Live at Manchester Opera House in November 2005, the second was The Schools Festival Song, a new piece by Ennio Morricone and Nicholas Royle sung by an 8,000-strong school’s choir, December 2006. The third and final pre-festival commission was Queen and Country by Turner prize-winning artist Steve McQueen. Installed at Manchester Central Library in February 2007, the piece was made up of stamps featuring the image of British Service personnel killed in the Iraq war.
In 2008 the Festival welcomed Leonard Cohen to Manchester for his first UK shows in more than 15 years.
Where do the events take place?
Festival events have taken place across Manchester and Salford in a range of established venues including the Palace Theatre, The Bridgewater Hall, the Opera House, The Lowry, Manchester Art Gallery and the Whitworth Art Gallery.
Some of the Festival’s free events take place in public spaces, such as Manchester Peace Gardens, MediaCityUK, the Town Hall and Deansgate. Non-traditional venues have also been used, including Manchester Velodrome, an office building in Spinningfields and the Festival’s specially built Pavilion in Albert Square.
MIF13 saw an increase in the use of non-traditional, found spaces, such as Mayfield Depot, with its wide and varied programme of art and dance; the deconsecrated St Peter’s Church in Ancoats, which staged Macbeth; and the secret space underneath Victoria Station, where The xx were in residence.
How many events are there?
For MIF15 there were 22 commissions and special events. MIF13 saw 18 new commissions and MIF11 and MIF09 featured 20 world premieres and special events across the city. All three featured the Festival's temporary, pop-up venue, the Pavilion Theatre in Albert Square. MIF07 featured 25 premieres.
Many of the world premiere events run for several performances across the Festival, giving audiences more opportunities to experience them.
A number of the events will have a life beyond the Festival, both in Manchester and around the world.
How many people attend the Festival?
During the inaugural Festival in 2007 more than 200,000 people attended events or participated in community projects, educational workshops and free events. Around 230,000 people attended MIF09 and MIF11 respectively. More than 246,000 people attended MIF13 and more than 259,000 in MIF15.
Where does the funding for the Festival come from?
The Festival is a limited company and registered charity with funding from the public and private sectors and income from ticket sales, plus money from local, national and international co-commissioning partners.
How can local people get involved?
There are many opportunities for the public to get involved in the Festival. The MIF volunteer scheme welcomes over 400 local people to work in all areas. MIF Creative, the Festival’s creative learning programme, works with over 2000 local people and includes three major commissions each Festival. All four editions of the Festival also featured local involvement in creative skills development workshops and arts education workshops with international and local artists.