Manchester International Festival, the world’s first festival of original, new work and special events, has announced its programme for 2015.

The event, which runs from Thursday 2nd July to Sunday 19th July has been taking place biennially since being launched in 2007 as an artist-led commissioning festival, presenting new works from across the visual arts, performing arts and popular culture.

This year’s festival has managed to secure contributions from big names including Bjork, FKA Twigs, Charlotte Rampling and Damon Albarn and will feature world premieres, unique concerts and one-off events, with a number of the events free of charge.

Alex Poots, founding CEO and Festival Director said: “For our fifth Festival, in our tenth year, we remain committed to working with some of the world’s greatest artists, supporting them to make their most ambitious and best work. For my last Festival it is such a pleasure to welcome many new artists and some returning artists to MIF.

Over the last decade, MIF has helped enable artists to develop their art forms and at times foster connections between different art forms. The best of these works have shown the interdependence between creative disciplines that may not, on the surface, seem to have as much in common, but actually have a deep rooted artistic compatibility.”

Manchester International Festival 2015 will see Albert Square taken over, converted into Festival Square, home to the Pavillion Theatre, Festival Pavillion, The Glass House and MIF Box Office, offering a place to eat, drink and socialise alongside a full programme of club nights, free DJs, innovative comedy, guided walks and exclusive tours.

So what’s on?  The festival will feature countless activities to delight the summer crowds, and we’ve picked out some of those which we expect to create a buzz.

Bjork – The legendary Bjork returns to Manchester International Festival for a one-off gig at Manchester’s Castlefield Arena.

image of Bjork

Bjork makes her return to Manchester International Festival. image copyright Inez and Vinoodh

FKA twigs – the Mercury Prize nominee will take up residency at Old Granada Studios where she will create seven short films over seven days as small audiences are invited into the studio each day to encounter and observe the process as it unfolds.
Richter / Pärt – a remarkable project, several years in the making. Gerhard Richter and Arvo Pärt have made work inspired by and dedicated to each other, after being introduced by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Alex Poots in 2013. These works will be united for the first time at the recently re-opened the Whitworth art gallery. To accompany the show at the Whitworth the Manchester Camerata will perform an evening of Pärt’s music at the Bridgewater Hall conducted by Gábor Takács-Nagy.
Mark Simpson – one of Britain’s brightest young composers will present the premiere of his first large scale commission, The Immortal, performed by the BBC Philharmonic, exploring the obsession with death at the heart of the human experience.
Neck of the Woods – Turner Prize winning artist Douglas Gordon joins forces with pianist Helen Grimaud to create a portrait of the wolf in a collision of visual art, music and theatre at the new centre of arts in Manchester, Home.  Neck of the Woods will also feature Charlotte Rampling as the raconteur.

Neck of the Woods image credit Douglas Gordon

Neck of the Woods. image credit Douglas Gordon

The Skriker – Over at the Royal Exchange Theatre, a landmark revival of Caryl Churchill’s clash of ancient fairy story and portrait of a fractured England will feature Maxine Peak with specially commissioned music by Nico Muhly and Antony.
Tree of Codes – a contemporary ballet inspired by the book Tree of Codes by Jonathan Safran Foer.  Soloists and dancers from The Paris Opera Ballet alongside Company Wayne McGregor will form the company, performing in an environment created by visual artist Olafur Eliasson to a score composed by Mercury Prize-winning producer/composer Jamie xx – a new musical inspired by the iconic Alice in Wonderland, featuring music by Damon Albarn.  The co-production with the National Theatre comes at the 150th anniversary of the publication of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.  Celebrated chef Mary-Ellen McTague will also create High Tea in Wonderland, a magical food event at Manchester Museum.

Full details of the programme available from the Manchester International Festival website.  Tickets for the events go on sale at 1pm Friday 6th March.  Book online at or call the box office on 0844 871 7654.

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