Festival Square at Manchester International Festival.

Festival Square at Manchester International Festival. Photo Credit: Louis Reynolds

Manchester International Festival unveils its 2021 programme with original new works and special events taking place over 18 days

Manchester International Festival (MIF) has unveiled its 2021 programme, which will take place across 18 days (1-18 July 2021).

Events will take place safely in indoor and outdoor locations across Greater Manchester, and a rich online offer will provide a window into the Festival wherever audiences are, including live streams and work created especially for
the digital realm.

With almost all the work created in the past year, MIF21 provides a unique snapshot of these unprecedented times. Artists have reflected on ideas such as love and human connections, the way we play, division and togetherness, equality and social change, and the relationship between the urban and the rural.

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

Performance commissions for the 2021 festival include:

  • Sea Change, an extraordinary new dance piece by Choreographer Boris Charmatz which sees a huge human flipbook sprung to life on the streets of Manchester on the opening night.
  • All of This Unreal Time, a unique cross-artform collaboration that candidly explores one man’s failings.
  • The World Premiere of The Patience of Trees, an intimate, site-specific concert inspired by the healing potential
    and power of the natural world from Manchester Camerata, Dobrinka Tabakova and Hugo Ticciati.
  • Notes on Grief, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s powerful reflection on family, love and loss
    journeys from page to stage in Rae McKen’s new production.
  • The Global Playground – an uplifting new show mixing dance, music, theatre and puppetry by Theatre-Rites
  • Postcards from Now presents five films from leading international artists including Akram
    Khan & Naaman Azhari, Lola Arias, Lucinda Childs & (LA)HORDE, Ibrahim Mahama and
    Angélique Kidjo, all commissioned and created at the height of the global lockdown.
  • Arcadia in which the immense open spaces of the Factory site will be transformed for one weekend only in a new sound and light installation by the theatre and opera director, Deborah Warner.

Manchester International Festival Artistic Director & Chief Executive, John McGrath says: “MIF has
always been a festival like no other – with almost all the work being created especially for us in the
months and years leading up to each Festival edition. But who would have guessed two years ago what a
changed world the artists making work for our 2021 Festival would be working in?”

“I am thrilled to be revealing the projects that we will be presenting from 1-18 July this year – a truly
international programme of work made in the heat of the past year and a vibrant response to our times.
Created with safety and wellbeing at the heart of everything, it is flexible to ever-changing circumstances
and boldly explores both real and digital space.

“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, despite all that has happened, the importance of our creative
connections – locally and globally.”

Tickets will be on sale from Thurs 20 May 2021 and can be purchased from