Manchester International Festival 2019 programme announced
- Arusa Qureshi
- 8 March 2019
Janelle Monáe / credit: JUNO
Highlights include David Lynch, Philip Glass, Maxine Peake and Janelle Monáe
Manchester International Festival has announced its programme for 2019, with internationally acclaimed artists from over 20 countries set to take over the city for 18 days in July. The biennial international arts festival is renowned for its focus on original new work and this year's programme will be no different, promising a plethora of works from across the arts, including 20 UK and world premieres. Most of the work is created especially with the festival in mind, and as a result, responds directly to current themes and issues including identity and language, borders and migration, technology and utopian/dystopian visions of the future.
Taking place from Thu 4–Sun 21 Jul, MIF19 will open with Yoko Ono's new mass-participatory event BELLS FOR PEACE, a gathering of thousands of people coming together to ring and sing out for peace in Cathedral Gardens, in the heart of the city. In a major highlight of this year's festival, legendary filmmaker David Lynch will be taking over HOME for the duration of MIF19. My Head Is Disconnected is the first major UK exhibition of his large-scale paintings, drawings and sculpture and will be available to view in the gallery, while in the theatre, Lynch collaborator Chrysta Bell will host a one-off series of live shows from Lynch-inspired musicians. The cinema will feature screenings of his classic movies, short films, conversations and more.
Elsewhere in the programme, Idris Elba and Kwame Kwei-Armah collaborate for the first time on Tree, a journey into the soul and spirit of contemporary South Africa which blends music, drama and dance; The Nico Project is a theatrical immersion into Velvet Underground singer and muse Nico's sound and identity from Maxine Peake and Sarah Frankcom; and Grime star Skepta presents DYSTOPIA987, a futuristic take on the history of rave culture at a secret Manchester location, with guest appearances from hand-picked performers.
In other music news, Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter, producer and actress Janelle Monáe will be playing the opening night of MIF19. Philip Glass and Phelim McDermott are teaming up for their most personal collaboration yet: Tao of Glass. Inspired by a dream, this world premiere marries meditations on life, death and wisdom with ten brand new pieces of music from Glass, presented in the round by McDermott, with an ensemble of musicians and puppeteers. MIF19 will also play host to the world premiere of a major two-part commission to mark the 200th anniversary of Peterloo, a landmark in Manchester's history, including a new work by composer Emily Howard and poet Michael Symmons Roberts, performed by the BBC Philharmonic, the BBC Singers and three Hallé choirs. For Queens of the Electronic Underground Mary Anne Hobbs (BBC Radio 6 Music) brings together Jlin, Holly Herndon, Aïsha Devi ft. MFO, Klara Lewis and Katie Gately for an evening of bleeding-edge sounds and breathtaking visuals.
Continuing MIF's use of the city's found spaces, Invisible Cities sees Leo Warner of 59 Productions, choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, writer Lolita Chakrabarti, Rambert dance company and an all-star creative team, collaborate for the first time on a wholly original mix of theatre, choreography, music, architectural design and projection mapping created for Mayfield, Manchester's former railway depot.
The programme also includes appearances from Adam Thirlwell, Hans Ulrich Obrist and Rem Koolhaas, who construct an extraordinary language laboratory featuring new work by Patrick Chamoiseau, Sayaka Murata, Adania Shibli, Sjón, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, Dubravka Ugrešić and Alejandro Zambra. Plus director Ivo van Hove, Berlin-based company Rimini Protokoll, Creative pioneer Laurie Anderson, Reggie 'Regg Roc' Gray and Mexican-Canadian artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer.
John McGrath, MIF Artistic Director and Chief Executive said: 'At MIF19 we see a whole host of artists looking to the future – some with hope, some with imagination and some with concern. We never impose themes on the artists we work with, but it's striking how this year's programme reflects our complicated times in often surprisingly joyous and unexpected ways. MIF19 will be a feast of energy, which I hope will inspire debate and delight for the festival's 18 days and far beyond.'
Manchester International Festival, various venues, Thu 4–Sun 21 Jul. Tickets.
Manchester International Festival
Bi-annual festival of avante-garde art across Greater Manchester. The line-up for 2019 features Yoko Ono's Bells for Peace, the great Janelle Monáe and David Lynch.