Skip to main content Skip to site map (in footer)

Manchester International Festival

Manchester International Festival is a leading biennial festival of original cross-artform productions and special events celebrating Manchester’s pre-eminence in arts, culture and music. The Festival was launched in 2007 as an artist-led festival presenting new works in performing arts, visual arts and contemporary culture, some of which was created specifically for the Festival by internationally-recognised artists and producers use MIF as a platform to tour their new material around the world.

The festival’s international character brings new visitors both local and foreign to Manchester to join what has become a global cultural event. MIF is also an important occasion for Mancunians to engage in the arts events inspired by Manchester, while MIF Creative, the learning-focused arm of the festival, connects MIF to Manchester’s diverse communities. The festival regularly draws over 200,000 to its events, educational workshops and community projects. MIF has recently improved sustainability to minimise the environmental impact of the festival and its activities.

Funding awards

  • 2012-2013: £500,000
  • 2013-2014: £500,000
  • 2014-2015: £500,000

Video feed

MIF Highlights

Highlights from the past four Manchester International Festivals

Show 21 more videos

MIF13 Audiences at Macbeth

Audience members give their thoughts on the production of Macbeth at Manchester International Festival 2013.

The Biospheric Project

Brilliantly ambitious, The Biospheric Project aims at nothing less than a total change in the way we think about food, farming and the environment. When the site threw open its doors to the public, 2,375 people were welcomed to visit this inspiring agricultural laboratory and see plants, fish, chicken and worms take their place in a carefully constructed eco-system within an old mill on the banks of the River Irwell in Salford. MIF Creative brought The Biospheric Project to children aged 3-11, engaging 10 classes within close proximity to the site in artist-led workshops bringing urban growing to life; and a programme of related events, including tours, talks, films, how-to workshops and family sessions, explored how these experiments into food, technology and design can help forge a new way of urban living.

MIF13 Highlights Film

A reminder of the 18 extraordinary days that made up 2013's Manchester International Festival. Featuring interviews with artists, performers and members of the public, and clips from performances of The Old Woman, Massive Attack v Adam Curtis, Abida Parveen, Goldfrapp, Kenneth Branagh in Macbeth and much more.

MIF07 Highlights Part 2

See part 2 of the video made at the end of MIF07 featuring, among others, Carlos Acosta, The Fall, Steve McQueen and many more.

MIF07 Highlights Part 1

See part 1 of the video made at the end of MIF07 featuring, among others, clips from Monkey: Journey to the West, interviews with Johnny Vegas, Stewart Lee, William Orbit and many more.

MIF13 - an interview with artist Mette Ingvartsen

Evaporated Landscapes is an artificial world in which landscapes are constructed from light, sound, bubbles and foam. In Mette Ingvartsen's work, choreography is removed from its normal context and becomes the relationship between these ephemeral elements as they magically float and dissolve into space. Mette Ingvartsen is a Danish choreographer and dancer whose recent works focus on questions of perception and sensation. CONCEPT Mette Ingvartsen LIGHTING Minna Tiikkainen SOUND DESIGN Gerald Kurdian CREDIT Programmed by Hans Ulrich Obrist, Alex Poots, Asad Raza and Tino Sehgal.

MIF 13 - an interview with artist Dan Graham

Here, artists Dan Graham discusses his work with Asad Raza in Mayfield Depot as part of 2013's Manchester international Festival. Past Future Split Attention is a simple yet psychologically complex live work. Playing on the intersubjective relations between two people, the piece creates what Graham calls 'a figure-eight feedback-feedahead loop of past/future'. From Sun 14 - Sat 20 July 2013, the exhibition will be a video of the live performance piece. Dan Graham is one of his generation's most influential artists. His work has encompassed writing, photography, architecture, choreography and video. CREDIT Programmed by Hans Ulrich Obrist, Alex Poots, Asad Raza and Tino Sehgal.

Despacio - A Timelapse

James Murphy, David Dewaele and Stephen Dewaele present Depacio - a custom disco sound system commissioned by MIF and designed by James Murphy and team. The timelapse shows the set up of the sound system and the first night of Despacio on Thu 18 July 2013 and the following evening at New Century Hall, Manchester. David, Stephen & James DJ together in a unique venue, playing vinyl for three consecutive nights. A meeting of minds, music and perfect sound. CREDIT Commissioned by Manchester International Festival. Produced by Manchester International Festival and The Warehouse Project.

MIF13 Art at Mayfield Depot

As part of MIF13, Mayfield Depot, built as a railway station over 100 years ago, has been rediscovered and revived. Featuring the work of major artists as well as housing MIF's Massive Attack v Adam Curtis performances, Mayfield Depot is transformed from a ghostly relic into a temporary venue for new cultural works.

Massive Attack v Adam Curtis

With special guests Elizabeth Fraser and Horace Andy Created by Adam Curtis and Robert Del Naja Designed and staged by Robert Del Naja and UVA in collaboration with Es Devlin 'A collective hallucination.' Robert Del Naja 'A musical entertainment about the power of illusion and the illusion of power.' Adam Curtis Read what Adam Curtis says about the event and watch his trailer here. Connecting the dark, intense music and visual work of Robert Del Naja of Massive Attack with the thought-provoking vision of filmmaker Adam Curtis in an atmospheric space never before opened to the public, this haunted, captivating production promises to completely redefine the very idea of "the gig". Ever since the 1991 release of their classic debut Blue Lines, Massive Attack has been one of the best and most consistently adventurous acts in the UK. Robert's painting and graphic design work have represented the band's music from their roots as a sound system. Since 2003, his LED installation work with UnitedVisualArtists has become the core of the band's live shows. These will be the group's first live performances in Britain since 2010. Through films such as The Century Of The Self and The Power of Nightmares, Adam Curtis has cemented his position as Britain's most imaginative documentary filmmaker. He was one of the creators of the widely acclaimed It Felt Like a Kiss (MIF09). United Visual Artists create work at the intersection of sculpture, architecture, live performance and digital installation. UVA have created four world and festival tours for Massive Attack and their designs for live performance have led to commissions for venues such as the Tate Modern turbine hall and the Serpentine Gallery. With thanks to Es Devlin and Felix Barrett.

Delphic at MIF13 For their debut album Acolyte, high-flying Manchester trio Delphic married the sounds of the present with key influences from the past and were rewarded with ecstatic reviews and top-10 sales. But rather than deliver more of the same, the band transformed themselves for this year's follow-up Collections, pushing their sound far beyond its origins to terrific effect. Now, exclusively for MIF, Delphic will be taking Collections around the world and back without ever leaving Festival Square. At this ambitious event, the trio will be completely reworking Collections with the help of musicians from across the globe, radically rearranging the entire album with everything from bhangra beats to hip hop rhythms, Japanese soul to the distinctive chimes of the Javanese gamelan. Taking place in the intimate Pavilion Theatre, these globetrotting gigs should be one of the hottest tickets of the year.

Rob Da Bank at MIF13

If anyone can define a decade in 26 songs, it's Rob da Bank, whose mischievous eclecticism has made him one of Britain's best-loved DJs. So that's what MIF has asked him to do... Over four nights, Rob will be bringing us the A--Z of Manchester — starting with the 80s, through different decades, covering the whole alphabet. Featuring visuals mixed live from the curated collection of legendary local photographer Kevin Cummins, this intimate party would go down a treat everywhere from Alphabet Street to Xanadu — but you'll only find it at MIF. Since finding fame with his Sunday Best club, Rob da Bank has spun his leftfield musical appetites into a huge array of enterprises. Alongside his weekly BBC Radio 1 show, Rob runs the annual Bestival fest, and has released acts as diverse as the Dub Pistols and David Lynch on his Sunday Best label. Born in Manchester, Kevin Cummins has been photographing musicians since the 70s. Arguably Britain's leading rock photographer, he's also worked at venues as diverse as the Royal National Theatre and Maine Road.

Long Grass for MIF13

An intense and impressive theatre trip.' De Morgen, Belgium A singularly atmospheric work incorporating film, music and visual art, Long Grass will reshape the way you view youth, innocence and the nature of war. Created in collaboration with a group of young people, Inne Goris's captivating video installation explores the dreams, fears and memories of child soldiers. Through sound, vision and theatrical atmospherics, the production opens the minds of young people forced into war, cast adrift in a desperately alienating situation. The audience can't avoid finding themselves at the heart of this immersive production, as Dominique Pauwels' haunting music and Kurt d'Haeseleer's stunning visuals help Goris to blur the line that separates youth from adulthood. The result is dark but beautiful, challenging yet rewarding - an overwhelming experience for eyes, ears and mind. Long Grass receives its UK première at MIF13. Long Grass is suitable for ages 15+

Macbeth at MIF13

Watch an interview with Ray Fearon who plays Macduff in MIF13's Macbeth, and hear what audience meners have to say about this stunning production.

MIF13 - Highlights from the first week

Have a look at the highlights from the first week of MIF13.

do it 20 13 at MIF13

Following the acclaim of Il Tempo del Postino (MIF07) and 11 Rooms (MIF11), MIF presents do it 20 13, another groundbreaking exhibition that turns the notion of viewing into an active and performative encounter between artist and visitor. do it 20 13 consists of a growing series of written artists' instructions, each of which is interpreted anew every time it is enacted. These instructions range from the active and the absurd to the profound and the philosophical, some to be accomplished at the gallery and others to be taken away and carried out at home. Conceived and curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist in conversation with Christian Boltanski and Bertrand Lavier, do it began life in 1993. This 20th-anniversary show brings together artists from the first do it experiments with subsequent generations of artists who have been commissioned to reinterpret earlier instructions. do it 20 13 will be divided into four rooms. The Active Room, presented by the artist Richard Wentworth, will contain a series of instructions aimed at the public from artists including Etel Adnan, Ai Weiwei, Yto Barrada, Theaster Gates, Casey Reas Peter Saville, and Ryan Trecartin. The Homage Room will feature living artists' reactions to instructions originally created by artists who are no longer with us, for example Sarah Lucas reacting to Franz West, Tracey Emin enacting the instructions of Louise Bourgeois and Christodoulos Panayiotou's homage to Joan Brossa. The Archive Room will contain ephemera and documentation from participants in the last 20 years of the project including Leon Golub, Mike Kelley, Shere Hite and Cedric Price. And finally, the Film Room will screen a large number of do it video works, including pieces from Gilbert & George, Yoko Ono and Nancy Spero.

Nikhil Chopra - Coal On Cotton at MIF13

The Indian artist Nikhil Chopra has been widely acclaimed for his performances that use a repertoire of characters to unravel the complexities of colonial India and Britain, along with his own family history. For Coal on Cotton, Chopra is turning his focus to two materials that made Manchester supremely wealthy in the 19th century, and that continue to hold workers in modern slavery beyond Europe and North America. Held over 65 continuous hours in the shell of the yet-to-be-completed Landscape Gallery at the Whitworth Art Gallery, which will open 24 hours a day for the show's duration, Coal on Cotton will span centuries and continents. The performance will ask its audience to witness and reflect on connections between the lives of our forebears and ourselves, and on the actions that drive power and possession. In a gallery space engulfed by cotton, Chopra's work will make connections between Mumbai and Manchester, cities sewn together through Britain's imperial might. Nikhil Chopra was born in 1974 in Calcutta, studied art at Ohio State University and now lives in Goa. His work Yog Raj Chitrakar: Memory Drawing VIII was part of Marina Abramović Presents... at MIF09.

Arts Council England is not responsible for the social media content on this organisation's page

Contact details

Third Floor, 81
King Street
M2 4AH

53.480759, -2.24072

  • 53.480759 -2.24072

View all National portfolio organisation and Major partner museums on our interactive map

Seen something out of date?
Tell us