Taking place across 18 extraordinary days, Manchester International Festival (MIF), the world’s first festival of original, new work and special events, returns in 2019 from the 4-21 July. An array of internationally acclaimed artists including Yoko Ono, Idris Elba and Skepta will present world premieres at the cross-art form biennial festival.
The full MIF19 programme will be announced on 7 March 2019.
BELLS FOR PEACE – Yoko Ono
Yoko Ono invites the people of Manchester to gather in Cathedral Gardens and send a message of peace to the world for MIF19’s opening event.
Thousands of diverse voices and a people’s orchestra of bells from home and abroad will ring and sing out for peace – and welcome the world to Manchester. Yoko Ono has been among the world’s most renowned and respected artists for more than 50 years. This new commission is the first major work she has created for the city of Manchester.
Tree – Created by Idris Elba & Kwame Kwei-Armah
This dynamic stage show takes you on a thrilling journey in search of the soul and the spirit of contemporary South Africa.
Created by Idris Elba, whose album Mi Mandela provides the soundtrack, and Kwame Kwei-Armah, the new Artistic Director of London’s Young Vic, this major world-premiere production takes place in the round within Upper Campfield Market Hall, one of Manchester’s most atmospheric spaces. Idris and Kwame’s new work features music, dance and film combined with an exciting and dynamic cast to explore the past, present and future of a country at a crossroads – all through the eyes of one young man on a journey of healing.
DYSTOPIA987 – Skepta
Skepta, one of the most significant British artists in music today, invites you to enter another world for this series of intimate and immersive experiences in a secret city-centre location.
Featuring a live set from Skepta, guest appearances from hand-picked performers and DJs, a wealth of new technology and a cast inhabiting a hidden netherworld, DYSTOPIA987 is a journey into eternity – a future riven with uncertainty and fear but rich in wonder and possibility.
The Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter, producer, actress (Moonlight, Hidden Figures) and activist Janelle Monáe makes her MIF debut with an exclusive show on the opening night of MIF19 with additional special guest performers.
A singular and spectacular live performer, Monáe received massive acclaim in 2018 for Dirty Computer, which reached the top ten on both sides of the Atlantic and was named NPR’s Album of the Year. She is playing just two UK dates in 2019 – including this one-off open-air show at Castlefield Bowl.
Thank You Very Much – Claire Cunningham
The National Theatre of Scotland and Manchester International Festival come together for the first time to work with leading disabled artist Claire Cunningham to present Thank You Very Much, which will premiere at MIF in July 2019 before touring to Glasgow later in the
This ambitious and powerful new work uses the phenomenon of Elvis tribute artists as a springboard to explore impersonation, identity, acceptance and the challenges of being yourself. Through the lens of the competitive world of Elvis tribute artists, among the messiness of navigating society’s ideas of normality, the ensemble takes apart the myth of how bodies should be and have been trained to be.
4-21 July 2019