MIF 2013

Manchester International Festival, the world’s only festival of original new work and special events, has announced its 2013 programme.

By Matthew Tyas | 28 February 2013

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Manchester International Festival, the world’s only festival of original new work and special events, presented biennially, has announced its 2013 programme which runs from 4 to 21 July 2013.

Featured artists include Massive Attack, Adam Curtis, Maxine Peake, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Willem Dafoe, Abida Parveen, Kenneth Branagh, Matthew Barney, Goldfrapp, The xx, Richard Wentworth, Mogwai, Tino Sehgal, Jamal Edwards, Robert Wilson, John Tavener, M O N E Y, Peter Sellars, James Murphy, Martha Argerich, Teodor Currentzis, Romeo Castellucci, Neneh Cherry and many more.


The programme ranges widely to include premieres of new commissions and re-envisioned classic works, as well as a series of unique concerts and one-off events.

Kenneth Branagh will return to Shakespeare after more than 10 years, in the title role of Macbeth, staged in a deconsecrated church; and Salford-born Josie Rourke, Artistic Director of the Donmar Warehouse, will direct The Machine, a play written by award-winning playwright Matt Charman, exploring chess player Garry Kasparov’s battle with the supercomputer Deep Blue.

Dominic Marley

The Festival will present work in some of Manchester’s historic industrial spaces, many being transformed specially for the programme. Manchester’s spectacular Mayfield Depot was originally built as a train station but has been empty for many years. Mayfield is the setting for Tino Sehgal who will follow his Tate Modern success with a series of works programmed with Hans Ulrich Obrist, Asad Raza and Manchester International Festival director Alex Poots. Mayfield will provide the location for Romeo Castellucci, Teodor Currentzis and the Perm Opera’s radical new interpretation of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, taking the original dance piece and remaking it as a theatre and dance installation, complete with bone powder and a 100-piece orchestra. The depot also forms the backdrop for Massive Attack v Adam Curtis, a meeting of music, film and illusion in ‘a collective hallucination’.

Kenneth Branagh will return to Shakespeare after more than 10 years, in the title role of Macbeth, staged in a deconsecrated church…

Local star Maxine Peake will perform in Sarah Frankcom’s new interpretation of Shelley’s epic poem The Masque of Anarchy, Britain’s greatest political poem. It will be set in the atmospheric Albert Hall chapel which will open to the public for the first time in 40 years. The same venue will also play host to director Peter Sellars’ production of Michelangelo Sonnets performed by Eric Owens and Cameron Carpenter.

Many of the world’s leading artists, including Tracey Emin, John Baldessari and Sarah Lucas, are taking part in do it 20 13, curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist. Housed in a space designed specially by artist Richard Wentworth, do it 20 13 takes as its starting point a series of written instructions by artists and is spread over 4 rooms, one of which will feature 20 instructions by deceased do it artists, realised especially for Manchester by 20 living artists.

Mercury Prize-winning band The xx will be in residence at a hidden space in the city centre throughout the Festival; and performance artist Nikhil Chopra will present a 65-hour long performance at the Whitworth Art Gallery exploring Manchester’s historic trade connections with Mumbai.

The Festival also presents a series of collaborations which bring together some of the world’s leading artists: Willem Dafoe shares a stage with legendary dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov in Robert Wilson’s new production The Old Woman. Matthew Barney presents a special preview of excerpts from his new film River of Fundament, made in collaboration with composer Jonathan Bepler; and Neneh Cherry appears with electronic outfit RocketNumberNine, performing their new album in its entirety for the first time.

The Masque of Anarchy L

The Festival also presents a number of one-off events. World-renowned pianist Martha Argerich joins Gábor Takács-Nagy and Manchester Camerata for a special performance of Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 1. John Tavener will be the focus for an evening of works, including three world premieres, played by the BBC Philharmonic and conducted by Tecwyn Evans. Sufi-singer Abida Parveen, one of the world’s greatest spiritual singers, will play a special concert at the Bridgewater Hall, and Evan Davies chairs Are We Powerless?, an afternoon of discussion and interrogation into the causes, effects and solutions of the global financial crisis.

MIF Creative, the Festival’s creative learning programme, is all about collaborative projects giving local communities opportunities to get involved in the development of artistic productions. Events include Belgian theatre director Inne Goris’ work for children and families, transforming Manchester’s Town Hall for Once Upon a Story, a series of shows that bring together dance, performance and visual art; and The Biospheric Project, which turns a derelict mill on the banks of the River Irwell into an experimental agricultural space. Designed as a legacy commission, with a programme of related events and special activities for schools and families, the project will continue beyond 2013 as a research space for sustainable food systems and future urban living.

Other highlights include entrepreneur Jamal Edwards and SB.TV bringing cutting-edge comedy and music to the Festival’s Pavilion Theatre; Goldfrapp premiering their forthcoming album; Mogwai performing their original soundtrack to Zidane, a 21st Century Portrait for the first time, alongside a screening of the film; Bestival creator Rob da Bank presenting a musical A-Z of Manchester over four nights; rising Mancunian band M O N E Y playing their debut album live for the first time; and Delphic reworking their sophomore album, Collections, with a variety of musicians from around the globe. Once again Albert Square will become the heart of MIF: visit for locally-sourced food and drink and the best of UK street food, soundtracked by free outdoor music; plus Dave Haslam hosts in conversations with Festival artists and programmes DJs in the Festival Pavilion bar every night. MIF13 ends with Despacio: James Murphy (DFA/LCD Soundsystem) teams up with David and Stephen Dewaele (2ManyDJs) to create a custom-made sound system for three major club nights to conclude this year’s Festival.

Evan Davis

Manchester International Festival is the world’s first festival of original, new work and special events and takes place biennially in Manchester, UK. The Festival launched in 2007 as an artist-led, commissioning festival presenting new works from across the spectrum of performing arts, visual arts and popular culture. Highlights of previous Festivals include Damon Albarn, Jamie Hewlett and Chen Shi-Zheng’s Chinese opera Monkey, Zaha Hadid Architects’ new space for the music of Bach, Björk’s ambitious three week Biophilia residency and The Life and Death of Marina Abramović, starring Abramović, Willem Dafoe and Antony (Antony & the Johnsons).

Alex Poots, Founding CEO and Artistic Director of the Manchester International Festival (MIF), was appointed Artistic Director in 2005 and has led the organisation through its first three seasons (2007, 2009 and 2011), commissioning a number of acclaimed productions. Previously Alex commissioned, curated and presented new work and special events for the Barbican, Tate, Somerset House, Channel 4 and ENO. Alongside his work for MIF, Alex was an Artistic Advisor to the London 2012 Olympics and was appointed Artistic Director of New York’s Park Avenue Armory in December 2011. This new role also facilitates a co-commissioning partnership between MIF and the Armory.

Tickets go on general sale at 10am on Friday 1 March.

Box Office: www.mif.co.uk / Quaytickets +44 (0)844 375 2013

£12 tickets available for every show for Greater Manchester residents on a lower wage, available on a first come first served honesty basis.