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Manchester International Festival Preview

Jonathan Kahn cherrypicks amongst the MIF feast

Written by . Published on June 22nd 2011.

Manchester International Festival Preview

THE Third Annual Manchester International Festival gets underway next week. Billed as ‘Eighteen Extraordinary Days’ the festival promises a whole host of events featuring both world renowned stars such as Bjork, to nationally notorious figures, such as Johnny Vegas. 

Coming down the road from Didsbury is former Housemartins and Beautiful South front man Paul Heaton. He premieres ‘The 8th’ one of the longest pop songs ever written.

The festival plays host to the world premiere of Biophilia, the new live show by Iceland’s most famous export. Biophilia fuses together music, nature and technology to show how sound works in nature. She will also be performing many tracks from her own back catalogue with a group of performers including an Icelandic female choir. 

Who is the world’s most famous rap artist? Dr Dre? Eminem? 50 Cent? For many it is Snoop Dog and the festival pays tribute to him by reproducing, in its entirety, his debut album, Doggystyle. Many of the stars who featured on the original recording, such as RBX, Joe Cool and Kurupt, will be making special live appearances in this unique multimedia experience.

This year’s festival sees the return to Manchester of one of the biggest figures in comedy, Johnny Vegas and his new show ‘And Another Thing’. 

Following the success of his previous show  ‘Interiors’ at the 2007 show, he returns this year for one week only, in what promises to be another huge hit. 

Marina Abramovic also returns to Manchester with her new show, ‘The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic’. The show stars Hollywood legend Willem Dafoe (Platoon, Spiderman) and a host of others. It’s directed by one of theatre’s best, Robert Wilson’. 

Coming down the road from Didsbury is former Housemartins and Beautiful South front man Paul Heaton. He premieres ‘The 8th’ one of the longest pop songs ever written. Having been given a theatrical narrative by Che Walker, it uses the setting of a poor neighbourhood to examine the Seven Deadly Sins, but discovers that a new, more modern sin, the eighth, is able to insert itself into the lives of all. 

This year also brings together five of the best sacred song performers in the world for recitals of some of the most famous songs and hymns from the world’s major religions (Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and Sikhism). The show called ‘Sacred Sites’ is set across Manchester in the religious buildings of each faith.

There’s entertainment for kids too. ‘The Crash of The Elysium’ created by Punchdrunk, is based around the world of Doctor Who. It offers a new, interactive experience, which means that the audience is solely responsible for the outcome. 

A distinctive event at this year’s festival is ‘Vertical Farm.’ This Dickson Despommier created show aims to help ease the pressure on farmland by creating a high rise farm featuring such things as bee hives, chicken coops and all kinds of animals and plants. This starts in Albert Square and then will be transferred to an empty office. 

Throughout the Festival, the focus will be Festival Square and Pavilion in Albert Square. 

Bjork will be a Campfield Market Hall, Campfield Avenue Arcade, Manchester, M3 4FH on Tue 30 June, Thu 7 July, Wed 13 July and Sat 16 July at 20:30 and Sun 3 July and Sun 10 July at 16:00. Tickets are £45 with a £10 discount for concessions and shows 90 mins and are standing only.

Snoop Dog Doggystyle is at the O2 Apollo, Stockport Road, Manchester M12 6AP on Fri 15 July. Doors open at 19:00 and tickets are £33.50. 

Johnny Vegas will be at the Pavilion Theatre, Albert Square on Mon 11 July, Wed 13 July, Thu 14 July and Fri 15 July at 21:30, with an additional show on Fri at 18:00, and on Sat 16 July at 13:30 and 20:30 and Sun 17 July at 15:00. Tickets are £25 with a £10 concession discount. 

‘The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic will be showing at the Lowry Sat 9 July – Sat 16 July, excluding Sunday at 19.30 and tickets are £15, £25, £35 and £39.50 with a £10 discount for concessions.   

Paul Heaton’s ‘The 8th’ is at the Pavilion Theatre, Albert Square, Thu 7 – Sat 9 July at 20:00, tickets are £19.50 with a £10 discount for concessions.

 For Sacred Sites the performers and venues are: Candi Staton (Gospel) at the New Testament Church of God, Old Trafford, on Thu 7 – Sat 9 July at 19.30. Mor Karbashi (Sefardic Jewish Hymns) at Manchester Reform Synagogue, Jackson’s Row, on Weds 6 July and Thurs 7 July at 19:30 and Sat 9 July at 20.30. Dya Singh (Shabads of Sikhism) at Gurdwara Sri Guru Harkrishan Sahib Ji, Sherborne Street, Thu 7 – Sat 9 July at 19:30. Anuradha Paudwal (Bhajans of Hinduism) at Shree Radha Krishna Mandir, Brunswick Road, Thu 7 – Sat 9 July at 19:30. Qari Syed Sadaqat Ali (Koran recital and Sufi poetry) at Manchester Central Mosque, Sat 9 July and Sun 10 July at 16:00. Candi Staton is also appearing at the Pavilion Theatre on Sun 10 July in Albert Square. Tickets are free, though advance booking is required, and visitors should respect the customs of whichever venue they visit. 

‘The Crash of the Elysium’ is on at the Lowry between Fri 1 and Sun 17 July, daily, excluding Mondays. Times are Tue-Fri first entry at 16:00, last entry at 20:50 and Sat and Sun between 11:00 and 20:40. Tickets are £17.50 Tue-Thu and £20 Fri-Sun.

The Vertical Farm can be found at Festival Square on Sun 17 July, admission is free, but tickets are needed.


Tickets for all events can be purchased through the box office on 0161 876 2198 and more information, including a full list of all the events can be found at www.mif.co.uk

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EDITORIALJune 23rd 2011.

EDITORIAL COMMENT. We'll be reviewing the various MIF shows. We're also doing three articles across the festival period looking at the whole shebang. The first will examine the reasoning behind MIF and its intended audience, the second will go onto the streets and measure the awareness of the festival amongst Mancs, and the third will take a look at the success of the festival in terms of hotel bookings, restaurants filling up and so forth.

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