The Manchester International Festival returns to the city this Summer and includes Kenneth Branagh returning to Shakespeare after more than 10 years, in the title role of Macbeth, staged in a deconsecrated church; and Salford-born Josie Rourke, Artistic Director of the Donmar Warehouse, will direct The Machine, a play written by award-winning playwright Matt Charman, exploring chess player Garry Kasparov’s battle with the supercomputer Deep Blue.
 
The Festival will present work in some of Manchester’s historic industrial spaces, many being transformed specially for the programme. Manchester’s spectacular Mayfield Depot was originally built as a train station but has been empty for many years. Mayfield is the setting for Tino Sehgal who will follow his Tate Modern success with a series of works programmed with Hans Ulrich Obrist, Asad Raza and Manchester International Festival director Alex Poots. Mayfield will provide the location for Romeo Castellucci, Teodor Currentzis and the Perm Opera’s radical new interpretation of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, taking the original dance piece and remaking it as a theatre and dance installation, complete with bone powder and a 100-piece orchestra. The depot also forms the backdrop for Massive Attack v Adam Curtis, a meeting of music, film and illusion in ‘a collective hallucination’.
 
Local star Maxine Peake will perform in Sarah Frankcom’s new interpretation of Shelley’s epic poem The Masque of Anarchy, Britain’s greatest political poem. It will be set in the atmospheric Albert Hall chapel which will open to the public for the first time in 40 years. The same venue will also play host to director Peter Sellars’ production of Michelangelo Sonnets performed by Eric Owens and Cameron Carpenter.
 
Many of the world’s leading artists, including Tracey Emin, John Baldessari and Sarah Lucas, are taking part in do it 20 13, curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist. Housed in a space designed specially by artist Richard Wentworth, do it 20 13 takes as its starting point a series of written instructions by artists and is spread over 4 rooms, one of which will feature 20 instructions by deceased do it artists, realised especially for Manchester by 20 living artists.
 
The Festival also presents a series of collaborations which bring together some of the world’s leading artists: One of the highlights is Willem Dafoe shares a stage with legendary dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov in Robert Wilson’s new production The Old Woman.
 
Manchester International Festival is the world’s first festival of original, new work and special events and takes place biennially in Manchester, UK. The Festival launched in 2007 as an artist-led, commissioning festival presenting new works from across the spectrum of performing arts, visual arts and popular culture. Highlights of previous Festivals include Damon Albarn, Jamie Hewlett and Chen Shi-Zheng's Chinese opera Monkey, Zaha Hadid Architects' new space for the music of Bach, Björk's ambitious three week Biophilia residency and The Life and Death of Marina Abramoviæ, starring Abramoviæ, Willem Dafoe and Antony (Antony & the Johnsons).
 
Alex Poots, Founding CEO and Artistic Director of the Manchester International Festival (MIF), was appointed Artistic Director in 2005 and has led the organisation through its first three seasons (2007, 2009 and 2011), commissioning a number of acclaimed productions. Previously Alex commissioned, curated and presented new work and special events for the Barbican, Tate, Somerset House, Channel 4 and ENO. Alongside his work for MIF, Alex was an Artistic Advisor to the London 2012 Olympics and was appointed Artistic Director of New York’s Park Avenue Armory in December 2011. This new role also facilitates a co-commissioning partnership between MIF and the Armory.

Tickets for Macbeth have been on sale previously and since sold out. But tickets for the other events go on sale today at 10am.