A key date in the UK’s cultural calendar is the biennial Manchester International Festival.

Launched in 2007, MIF prides itself in being “the world’s first festival of original, new work and special events”. Through an eclectic programme of events and performances held at venues across the city, MIF provides a dazzling showcase of creativity from around the world.

Past festival highlights

Every other year artists, musicians, architects and theatre companies at varying stages of their career are commissioned to make works specifically for MIF.

The festival has created some unforgettable moments; from Jeremy Deller’s 2009 project Procession, which included an ensemble of musicians and floats marching through Manchester, to Snoop Dogg’s 2011 comeback appearance at the city’s O2 Apollo concert venue. 

2015’s festival was as vibrant and exciting as ever, and in the video at the top of this page you can watch highlights from MIF 2015 with cultural figures such as Blur's Damon Albarn and actress Maxine Peake giving their thoughts on what makes the festival so special.

The projects commissioned for MIF 2015 reflected the diverse nature of the creative vision for the festival. Highlights included wonder.land, a musical with stunning CGI elements co-created by Damon Albarn, and FlexN Manchester, a dance collective who performed to a sold-out auditorium at Old Granada studios. Introductions to both of these projects can be found in the videos below.

Looking ahead to MIF 2017

MIF is always looking to expand its horizons, and 2017’s festival brings with it some exciting innovations.

From What Is the City but the People? – a large-scale self-portrait of the city’s residents taken in Piccadilly Gardens – to What if Women Ruled the World, a theatre project reversing the male-dominated gender hierarchy of Stanley Kubrick’s film Dr Strangelove, the festival promises to continue pushing cultural and societal boundaries within and beyond Manchester.

Audience participation is integral to many of the MIF events, and last year the festival organisers launched My Festival, a creative community for the people of Manchester that enables them to easily participate in the various projects on offer.

Find out more about My Festival and MIF’s 2017 offering via the links below.

Festival in My House

Another project returning to MIF for 2017 is Festival in My House. In the lead-up to this year’s festivities, the people of Manchester are being offered the opportunity to put on micro-festivals within their own homes. Entrants are asked to come up with ideas that are ambitious, intimate, international and memorable.

The first two Festival in My House events have been confirmed for 2017: Cheetham Hill local Yati Aziz’s M8 Festival promises a cultural melting pot of music and dance; and Levenshulme resident Nija Dalal-Small’s Mehndi Festival invites local people to walk away with original art works on their bodies, as 10 artists create new designs on visitors’ hands and feet using Indian body art techniques.

Learn more in the videos above.

A colourful and ever-expanding celebration of British culture, Manchester International Festival has an ambitious global outlook and a programme that reaches far beyond the physical boundaries of the city to be enjoyed by people all over the world.

External links