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Manchester International Festival 2017 (MIF17)

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by David Keyworth (subscribe)
I’m a freelance journalist and published poet, based in Manchester. My debut poetry pamphlet is available at
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Don't want to leave your house to attend an arts festival? The organisers of Manchester International Festival 2017 (MIF17) are giving the city's residents the chance to put on an event behind their own front door, as long as they come up with the idea themselves.

The festival organisers say they are looking for ideas, involving music or dance, drama or art, which:

Have big ambition but are on an intimate scale
Embrace the adventurous spirit of MIF
Have an international angle, large or small
Leave a lasting impression on everyone who takes part.

Manchester International Festival Art theatre
Festival in My House. Credit Oliver East.

Other events announced so far, for the festival, which takes place from 29 June to 16 July 2017, include:

Thursday 29 June 2017
Piccadilly Gardens
What Is the City but the People?

Created by the People of Manchester from an idea by Jeremy Deller. In association with Islington Mill.

Free – no ticket required

The festival will open with something which sounds like a combination of an artistic fashion show and a giant selfie. A specially designed walkway in the city's Piccadilly Gardens will feature local residents, who will parade on a runway to musical accompaniment for audiences both in the streets and online. The organisers promise a mixture of "high-fashion statements" and "far more personal moments".

Jeremy Deller's previous work with MIF includes Procession in 2009. Speaking about that project the artist said: "I wanted in a way to try and make something a bit like a procession you would see on The Simpsons, a sort of social surrealist event full of bizarre, funny, wrong-seeming things."

Co-created by Scott Graham, Karl Hyde and Simon Stephens
1-15 July 2017
Royal Exchange Theatre

From £12

This dramatic work by physical theatre company Frantic Assembly's Scott Graham, playwright Simon Stephens and Karl Hyde from duo Underworld, whose CV includes being music directors for the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics. Fatherland is about contemporary fatherhood in all its complexities. It is described as a "collage of words, music and movement will transform Manchester's Royal Exchange Theatre, animated by a 13-strong cast and a multitude of voices".

Simon Stephens won an Olivier Award for his adaptation of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, which will be at London's Gielgud Theatre until June.

In 2015, as part of the international festival, the Royal Exchange staged The Skriker written by Caryl Churchill and starring Maxine Peake.

Manchester International Festival Art theatre
Simon Stephens. Credit Kevin Cummins.

What if Women Ruled the World?
Yael Bartana
Dates & venue to be announced on Thur 9 March 2017

A combination of film and theatre will be used to give a creative response to the question posed in the event's title.

Each night, a group of 10 women and one man will be confronted by some of the urgent crises of our time: climate change, military escalation, mass migration. This will be a brand new work created by Yael Bartana, with the performance directed by Vicky Featherstone. A professional cast will be joined by a group of female experts: scientists, politicians, artists and thinkers of global reputation. They will spend the evening trying to solve that night's emergency, under the eye of the ticking clock.

Yael Bartana is an Israeli-born artist whose films, installations and photographs explore the imagery of identity and the politics of memory. She represented Poland at the Venice Biennale in 2011 with the trilogy And Europe Will Be Stunned,.

Vicky Featherstone is the Artistic Director of the Royal Court Theatre in London, and was previously the founding Artistic Director of the National Theatre of Scotland and the Artistic Director of Paines Plough.

Manchester International Festival Art theatre
What if Women Ruled the World - Yael Bartana

10000 Gestures
Boris Charmatz
13-15 July 2017

A city centre space to be announced

All tickets £25

MIF is known for challenging and original work and choreographer, Boris Charmatz promises to bring to the festival something which will be, in that much-used phrase - truly unique.

In an "atmospheric space in central Manchester", a 25-strong ensemble of dancers will perform, in succession, 10000 Gestures – "none repeated, every one unique".

Boris Charmatz has recently presented work at Sadler's Wells, Tate Modern and New York's Museum of Modern Art. This pre-premiere of 10000 Gestures will mark the first ever staging of his work in Manchester.

Manchester International Festival Art theatre
Boris Charmatz. Credit Ursula Kaufmann.

John McGrath is the CEO and Artistic Director of MIF said: "The full range of work, with some very exciting surprises, will be announced on Thursday 9 March 2017. In the meantime, I'd better get back to developing these projects to make sure they're ready for the start of MIF17 on 29 June 2017."

Manchester International Festival (MIF), which launched in 2007, is a festival of original, new work and special events. The Festival is staged every two years and has commissioned, produced and presented world premieres by artists as diverse as Victoria Wood, Björk, Steve McQueen, Maxine Peake, Robert Wilson, Elbow, Wayne McGregor, The xx, Zaha Hadid Architects, Damon Albarn, Punchdrunk and Marina Abramović, among many others.

In addition to free events, £12 tickets are available for Greater Manchester residents on a lower wage.

To find out more about Festival in My House visit My-festival

To discover more about the whole festival, click on MIF17

Manchester International Festival Art theatre
Boris Charmatz © Danse de Nuit. Credit Boris Brussey.
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Why? A world of culture comes to Manchester
When: 29 June - 16 July 2017
Phone: 0843 208 1840
Where: Manchester - various locations
Cost: Some events are free
Your Comment
Congrats on the bronze, good to see this kind of festival taking place :)
by Lucinda (score: 2|342) 1842 days ago
Sounds like it's going to be another great festival this year!
by Jay Johnson (score: 3|1368) 1842 days ago
MIF17 starts today!
by David Keyworth (score: 2|135) 1662 days ago
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