MIF21 opens international arts programme

Rehearsals for Sea Change. Pic: Kira Barlach


Paul Genty

1 Jul 2021

Dozens of events cover huge range of arts throughout July

Manchester International Festival (MIF), returns today until July 18 with a vibrant programme of original new work from across the visual and performing arts by artists from over 20 countries. 

Artists include Akram Khan, Cillian Murphy and Deborah Warner, and events will take place safely in indoor and outdoor locations across Greater Manchester – including the first production on the construction site of The Factory, the cultural space that will be MIF’s future home.

MIF21 also offers several online productions and events, including live streams and work created especially for online viewing.

With almost all the work created in the past year, the festival will provide a unique snapshot of unprecedented global times. Artists have reflected on many ideas that have been in sharp relief during lockdown, from love and human connections to the way we entertain ourselves and others.

Festival Square also returns, in a new location – Cathedral Gardens – with a large programme of food, drink and free live entertainment.

As one of the first major public events as lockdown hopefully comes to an end, MIF21 will play a key role in the safe reopening of the city’s economy and provide employment for hundreds of freelancers and artists.

Artistic director and chief executive John McGrath said: “MIF has always been a festival like no other – with almost all the work created specially for us in the months and years leading up to each festival. Who would have guessed two years ago what a changed world the artists making work for our 2021 festival would be working in?

“We hope MIF21 will provide a time and place to reflect on our world now, to celebrate the differing ways we can be together, and to emphasise the importance of our creative connections – locally and globally.”

On opening night tonight, Sea Change –  a new outdoor dance work by French choreographer Boris Charmatzwill fill Deansgate with a chain of professional and non-professional dancers performing and repeating a dance movement on the spot while the audience walks past the dancers to animate the action into a kind of “living flipbook”.

Get the full programme of events over the next three weeks here.