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MIF 2013: Sir Kenneth Branagh And The xx

Big announcements for Manchester International Festival 2013

Published on November 15th 2012.

MIF 2013: Sir Kenneth Branagh And The xx

SIR Kenneth Branagh and Mercury Prize-winning band The xx will be among the headliners of next year's Manchester International Festival.

"We continue to make ambitious and engaged work with some of the world's greatest artists and thinkers..." - Alex Poots

Sir Kenneth, who received his knighthood at Buckingham Palace last week, will play Macbeth in what will be his first Shakespeare play for more than a decade. He will give 17 performances as Macbeth in a new production by Emmy and Tony award-winning director Rob Ashford. The production is set to take place in an as-yet-unnamed former church building in Manchester.

2010 Mercury-Prize winners, The xx, will also play at the festival next July. It has also been confirmed this week, that an old industrial building in Salford will be converted into an agricultural space filled with experiments in sustainable food, technology and design.

The xxThe xx

Festival director Alex Poots told the BBC: "We continue to make ambitious and engaged work with some of the world's greatest artists and thinkers, while taking the festival - and our audiences - in new, unexpected and challenging directions."

MIF is held every two years and 2013 will be its fourth incarnation. Bjork, Sinéad O’Connor, Snoop Dogg, Victoria Wood and Damon Albarn were among the star attractions last year. The full programme for next year's festival will be announced in February.

Those early highlights


MIF presents a once in a lifetime event: 17 performances of this new production, staged ina deconsecrated church. Directed by Rob Ashford (Anna Christie, A Streetcar NamedDesire) and Kenneth Branagh; starring Branagh as Macbeth.

The xx
Following the release of their Number 1 album Coexist The xx are in residence at MIF,taking over an enigmatic found space in the centre of the city for the whole Festival. Eachof these specially staged shows will have a capacity of no more than 100, giving audiencesa new relationship with the band’s intimate, atmospheric music.

The Biospheric Project
How can we continue to put food on our tables as climates change and populations riseand become more urbanised? The Biospheric Project sees MIF team up with the Biospheric Foundation, a local community of researchers, scientists and urban farmers, toseek solutions to this most pressing question. Growing out of MIF11’s Vertical Farm study and the Biospheric Foundation’s own research, the team will transform an old industrial building in Salford into an agricultural space filled with experiments in sustainable food,technology and design. 

Tickets for Macbeth and The xx go on sale in January – sign up for ticket alerts at mif.co.uk. The full programme for MIF13 will be announced in February.

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8 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousNovember 15th 2012.

Tickets to these show are fifty quid each!
Fifty quid to watch The XX!? Why wouldn't I just pay £20 to watch them at the Academy?
Fifty to watch Macbeth? I've watched Shakespeare in the Globe for half that price.
Once again MIF stands for Manchester Inaccessible Festival. This is not a Festival for at all for Manchester people as it should be. Tickets to these shows should be more affordable considering the level of investment from Manchester City Council.
I hope their next announcement offers more for the people of Manchester.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Jonathan SchofieldNovember 15th 2012.

The tickets will not be £50 each

the Whalley RangerNovember 15th 2012.

It's called inflation,mate - that's what happens when you let your bank boss print £2,800 of QE per head this year alone.

You think this place is any better than Greece, Portugal or Spain right now?

JoanNovember 15th 2012.

I haven't found ticket prices quoted yet. MIF membership costs £50 though. I expect there will be the usual mix of events, with some free of charge and some events based around community involvement. In the past I've found ticket prices reflected those elsewhere for the genre. For example The Lowry's pretty well sold out this weekend for ballet at prices not too dissimilar to MIF's ballet offerings. The xx will be performing to an audience of 100 so prices will inevitably be higher than at The Apollo.

Richard HJNovember 15th 2012.

A bullseye for Kenneth Branagh in Macbeth in an unusual location sounds perfectly acceptable to me. It has value. Making good things happen isn't cheap, however much everyone - including MIF I'm sure - would like that to be the case. As for The XX... you don't like them, so don't go. Me neither. There, that's a hundred quid saved by us already. Pub?

AnonymousNovember 15th 2012.

Tickets aren't £50. MIF membership is £50. Read the article properly.

AnonymousNovember 15th 2012.

Does anyone know which former church is being used? I wondered about St Peters Ancoats but think Halle will be in residence by then. Joan is right, tickets aren't £50 - that's for MIF membership which is a different thing!

Jonathan SchofieldNovember 15th 2012.

It has to be St Peter's. It's even set up for music and performance with the Halle moving in. At the same time it has a gathering space - Cutting Room Square - just outside.

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