Theatre News

Cillian Murphy, Deborah Warner and Akram Khan announced in Manchester International Festival

The festival kicks off in July

Cillian Murphy
Cillian Murphy
© The Artist

Manchester International Festival has unveiled its line-up for 2021.

Running from 1 to 18 July 2021, the festival will take place both indoors and outdoors, with audiences able to watch live shows, films and engage in public works taking over the streets of the city.

Artistic director and chief executive John McGrath said: "MIF has always been a Festival like no other – with almost all the work being created especially for us in the months and years leading up to each Festival edition. But who would have guessed two years ago what a changed world the artists making work for our 2021 Festival would be working in?"

"I am thrilled to be revealing the projects that we will be presenting from 1-18 July this year – a truly international programme of work made in the heat of the past year and a vibrant response to our times. Created with safety and wellbeing at the heart of everything, it is flexible to ever-changing circumstances, and boldly explores both real and digital space.

"We hope MIF21 will provide a time and place to reflect on our world now, to celebrate the differing ways we can be together, and to emphasise, despite all that has happened, the importance of our creative connections – locally and globally."

The festival will kick off on 1 July with a major dance piece presented by Boris Charmatz, featuring 150 Greater Manchester residents. The residents will be laid out as one giant jigsaw, with the audiences challenged with assembling them.

Rae McKen will produce a stage version of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Notes on Grief, while Aaron Dessner, Bryce Dessner, Jon Hopkins, Aoife McArdle, Cillian Murphy and Max Porter will create All of This Unreal Time, with Murphy starring in the filmed piece about a man grappling with his own failings. It will be presented as an immersive installation.

Manchester Camerata, Dobrinka Tabakova and Hugo Ticciati will collaborate on The Patience of Trees, a site specific piece explaining how we can heal the natural world. Theatre-Rites will return with The Global Playground – a family piece mixing dance, music, theatre and puppetry.

Leading international artists will come together to present Postcards from Now – a response to the most recent lockdown and posing the question: "what happens next?"

Inspired in-part by a painting of Manchester by William Wyld, theatre and opera director Deborah Warner will create a new sound and light installation Arcadia, combining the works of famous poets with the voices of Jonathan Pryce, Jane Horrocks, RoxXxan, Brian Cox, Simon Russell Beale, Lioness and David Thewlis.