Today, the 30th of June 2011, sees the return of The Manchester International Festival (MIF). A biannual festival that transforms the vibrant city of Manchester in to a thriving cultural landscape, draped in music, drama, design, and art.
Having started in 2007, the festival looks to highlight the importance of the arts in the city, both in it's past and future. The city stands in awe as familiar spaces metamorphise into rich cultural epicentres for events held over the 18 days. Previous events have included the likes of a J. Bach concert hall by the starchitect that is Zaha Hadid (reported previously here - http://lookupmanchester.blogspot.com/2009/08/zaha-hadids-j-s-bach-chamber-music-hall.html) and in 2007 The Gorillaz staged their first production, Monkey: Journey To The West, all in a resulting in a fantastic collection of art in the city.
Bjork (images copyright to MIF)
This year sees the line up expand even future than previous years. Not only does Damon Albarn return with a new production, the opera Dr Dee, directed by Rufus Norris. The magical Icelandic singer Bjork returns to the UK for the first time in over 3 years with a collection of 6 shows held across the 3 weeks of the festival. Among the high profiled events sits the heart of everything on show, the Festival Square.
Dr Dee (images copyright to MIF)
Situated in Albert Square, sits Roger Stephenson Architect's (formerly Stephenson Bell Architects) Festival Pavilion, the centre of the festival. Open throughout each of the 18 days, it will be the pumping heart. From it one can enjoy daily entertainment, or simply enjoy the music from DJs whilst sitting with a nice cold drink. Everything you need to know about the festival will be found here. Constructed over the past few weeks the temporary structure looks to reflect the town hall's clock tower, subtly toying with it's height.
True Faith (images copyright to MIF)
MIF is a fantastic accumulation of our diverse culture here in Manchester, and Look Up Manchester is going to be right in the centre of it all. Reviews and discussions of the festival events will be posted throughout the duration and daily updates will keep you all up to date with what there is to see. The first event to be attended and discussed will be Damon Albarn's Dr Dee at the Palace Theatre on the 5th of July. Following that will be True Faith, a retrospective look at both established and emerging creatives based in Manchester. A mixture of live music and interviews will help to explore the importance that Manchester has as a city of culture.
Many other events will be covered right here in the blog throughout the festival, keep your eye on twitter (by following the MSSA @themssa and our writers @jackpb and @butcherluke) and enjoy the festival!