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$400m New York Arts Centre Snaps Up MIF Director Poots

Alex Poots, Manchester International Festival founder and Artistic Director, is to jump ship after this summer's festival

Written by . Published on November 25th 2014.

$400m New York Arts Centre Snaps Up MIF Director Poots

ALEX Poots, founding CEO and Artistic Director of the Manchester International Festival (MIF), is to step down following next year's summer festival.

"The Festival and the city are grateful to Alex for his exceptional work over the last decade, building MIF into one of the world’s great festivals."

Poots (pictured above), who has helped to attract global superstars like Bjork and Snoop Dogg to Manchester's biennial festival since it's inaugural 2007 event, is to take up a similar covetable role at New York's Culture Shed.

Poots has taken up a similar role at New York's planned Culture ShedPoots has taken up a similar role at New York's planned Culture Shed

Due to open in 2018, the Culture Shed is a new $400m visual and performing arts institution planned for the Hudson Yard development in New York's Manhattan.

“We were looking for someone who was really a cultural entrepreneur, an impresario,” Culture Shed chairman Daniel L. Doctoroff told the New York Times.

Poots, discussing his near-decade tenure at the festival, said: "I have had the best ten years of my professional life at MIF. I have decided to move on while I’m still excited and engaged by this incredible job and remarkable city."

Björk's Biophilia albumBjörk's debuted Biophilia at MIF 2011

Launched seven years ago at the Opera House by Blur frontman Damon Albarn's cartoon band Gorillaz, MIF (the world's only biennial festival of world premières) has witnessed world-first performances from Massive Attack, Hollywood actor William Dafoe, Goldfrapp, Oscar-winning director Steve McQueen, Mercury-prize winning band The xx, and last year's critically-acclaimed adaption of Shakespeare's Macbeth by actor-director Sir Kenneth Branagh.

In 2013, it was estimated that the festival welcomed nearly 250,000 attendees (including 50,000 attending free performances) and benefited the city economy to the tune of £38m - read our 2013 summary report here.

Tom Bloxham MBE, MIF Chair and co-founder of Manchester-based property developer Urban Splash, said of Poots' reign:

"The Festival and the city are grateful to Alex for his exceptional work over the last decade, building MIF into one of the world’s great festivals.

"He will be leaving MIF in fantastic shape and we look forward to recruiting a new Director who can take the festival on to the next phase. We are so proud and pleased for Alex; New York will be lucky to have him."

The MIF festival hub, Albert SquareThe MIF festival hub 2013, Albert Square

Manchester City Council leader, Sir Richard Leese, said:

"Alex has done a remarkable job in establishing Manchester International Festival as a significant player in the global arts scene, enhancing Manchester's profile in the process.

"I'm sure MIF 2015 will be better than ever and know that when Alex does hand over the reins he will leave an organisation in great shape.

"Manchester has forged strong cultural links with New York and doubtless these will continue to flourish, not least once Alex takes up his new position."

Manchester International Festival have recently announced the first three shows to go on sale for 2015's eighteen day July event, with Professor Brian Cox, Oscar-winning director Kevin MacDonald, choreographer Wayne McGregor MBE, Jamie xx and CBeebies' Mr Tumble all performing - see here.

The full programme will be announced in February 2015.

Poots' successor will be appointed early next year.

More on MIF 2015 here.


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AnonymousNovember 25th 2014.

That's one way of getting your Green Card, Alex. U.S. citizenship after that and then the world's your oyster.

Burt CodeineNovember 26th 2014.

If MIF was a FTSE 100 company, I'd hazard a guess the 'shares' would have dropped considerably following this news. Hard boots to fill so I'm hoping Alex Poots' successor will take the baton and run just as hard. Good luck to him (impossible to turn that new gig down)...MIF is quite an astonishing success. Also hoping it can become an annual event in time.

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