Manchester International Festival announces 2019 theatre and performance highlights

Manchester International Festival, the world’s first festival of original, new work and special events, today unveiled its 2019 programme, which will take place across 18 days (4-21 July 2019). An array of internationally-acclaimed artists from all over the world will present UK and world premieres at the cross-art form biennial festival, the second with John McGrath as Artistic Director.

THEATRE COMMISSIONS FOR THE 2019 FESTIVAL INCLUDE:

IN A MAJOR NEW COLLABORATIVE PARTNERSHIP TWO WORLD CLASS ARTISTS, IDRIS ELBA AND KWAME KWEI-ARMAH, COME TOGETHER TO PRESENT THE WORLD PREMIERE OF TREE

WORLD PREMIERE OF INVISIBLE CITIES FROM DIRECTOR LEO WARNER, CO-DIRECTOR AND CHOREOGRAPHER SIDI LARBI CHERKAOUI AND PERFORMED BY RAMBERT

THE FOUNTAINHEAD BASED ON AYN RANDS’ NOVEL AND DIRECTED BY IVO VAN HOVE RECEIVES ITS UK PREMIERE

JULIET STEVENSON TO FEATURE IN RE:CREATING EUROPE, AN EVENING OF TEXTS AND SPEECHES THAT HAVE SHAPED THE CONTINENT

MAGGIE THE CAT, A NEW WORK BY CHOREOGRAPHER TRAJAL HARRELL TO HAVE ITS WORLD PREMIERE AT MIF19

MAXINE PEAKE AND SARAH FRANKCOM PRESENT THE NICO PROJECT

THANK YOU VERY MUCH, A NEW DANCE WORK FROM CLAIRE CUNNINGHAM LOOKING AT IDENTITY THROUGH THE PRISM OF THE ELVIS TRIBUTE ARTIST

A UNIQUE COLLABORATION BETWEEN PHILIP GLASS AND IMPROBABLE’S PHELIM MCDERMOTT, TAO OF GLASS RECEIVES WORLD PREMIERE

THOMAS MORE’S UTOPIA, THE MANCHESTER CHOLERA EPIDEMIC OF THE 1830s AND THE 200th ANNIVERSARY OF THE PETERLOO MASSACRE ARE THE INSPIRATIONS FOR THREE NEW SITE-SPECIFIC COMMISSIONS FOR MIF19

John McGrath, MIF Artistic Director and Chief Executive says: “At MIF19 we see a whole host of artists looking to the future – some with hope, some with imagination and some with concern. We never impose themes on the artists we work with, but it’s striking how this year’s programme reflects our complicated times in often surprisingly joyous and unexpected ways. Featuring artists from more than 20 countries, the Festival also has strong local roots, with several commissions featuring the people of Manchester as participants. MIF19 will be a feast of energy, which I hope will inspire debate and delight for the festival’s 18 days and far beyond.”

For the full festival programme, please visit mif.co.uk

TREE

MIF, Young Vic and Green Door Productions today announce that Alfred Enoch (Harry Potter film series, How to Get Away with Murder) will star in the production and the first images of rehearsals have been released. Created by Idris Elba and Kwame Kwei-Armah, this musical collaboration is an electrifying new blend of drama, music and dance as it follows one man’s journey into the heart and soul of contemporary South Africa – with the audience at the centre of the action. Directed by Kwei-Armah, Artistic Director of London’s Young Vic, with music inspired by Elba’s album Mi MandelaTree is an exhilarating show about identity, family and belonging, seen through the eyes of one man on the toughest journey of his life. Elba will produce along with his Green Door Productions. Tree will premiere this summer at Manchester International Festival, before transferring to London’s Young Vic.

It’s just 12 hours from London to his parents’ homeland, but to Kaleo (Alfred Enoch), South Africa is another world. A family tragedy finally forces him to visit for the first time – and as he takes his journey of healing, Kaleo must confront hidden histories and right the wrongs of the past. But first he must face the present: a shattered family, fighting to hold on to what they believe is theirs, in a nation haunted by the ghosts of its own turbulent past.

Creative Team

Created by Idris Elba and Kwame Kwei-Armah
Kwame Kwei-Armah                  
Director
Jon Bausor                                 Set & Costume Designer
Gregory Maqoma                       Choreography
Jon Clark                                    Lighting Designer
Paul Arditti                                 Sound Designer
Duncan McLean                        Video Designer
Michael Asante                          Music Supervisor/Composer
Mongi Mthombeni                     Dramaturg
Pippa Ailion CDG                      Casting Director

A Manchester International Festival, Young Vic and Green Door Pictures co-production. In association with Eleanor Lloyd Productions, Bob Benton for Anthology Theatre and Eilene Davidson.

INVISIBLE CITIES

Lolita Chakrabarti adapts the renowned novel for major new production starring Danny Sapani as Kublai Khan and Matthew Leonhart as Marco Polo

MIF19 commission interweaves dance, theatre, music, plus architectural design and projections by 59 Productions, to conjure up magical worlds

Manchester International Festival 2019 (MIF19) presents the world premiere of Invisible Cities, inspired by the renowned 1972 novel, which centres on the relationship between Kublai Khan, the volatile head of a vast empire, and explorer Marco Polo, who must transcend the barriers of language to describe it for him.

Director Leo Warner, choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, writer Lolita Chakrabarti, architects and artists 59 Productions and contemporary dance company Rambert have come together for the first time to create this extraordinary new, site-specific work, which reimagines the possibilities of live performance.

Conceived by 59 Productions, Invisible Cities will see Manchester’s atmospheric venue the Mayfield, a vast disused train depot, transformed through a spellbinding mix of theatre, choreography, music, architectural design and projection mapping.

Zenobia, a city of joy. Beersheba, a celestial city of gold. Isadora, a city of promise, seduction and desire. City by unseen city, the young explorer conjures from the ether a vast and spectacular empire – and all for the benefit of an emperor, his master, who may never get to see it for himself.

Performed by Rambert, with Danny Sapani as Kublai Khan and Matthew Leonhart as Marco Polo, Invisible Cities features design and projection by 59 Productions’ Olivier and Tony Award-winning team of architects, designers and animators. With a score by Dustin O’Halloran and Adam Wiltzie of the ambient music duo A Winged Victory for the Sullen, soundscapes by award-winning Gareth Fry, Invisible Cities will transport audiences through time and space.

Creative Team
Leo Warner                                                 Director
Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui                                   Co-Director and Choreographer
Lolita Chakrabarti                                       Adaptor
Dustin O’Halloran and Adam Wiltzie          Composers
Jenny Melville                                             Set Designer
Laura Hopkins                                            Costume Designer
Fabiana Piccioli                                          Lighting Designer
Gareth Fry                                                  Sound Designer
Nicol Scott                                                  Video Designer
Sam Jones CDG                                        Casting Director
Benoit Swan Pouffer                                  Creative Advisor

Produced by Manchester International Festival, 59 Productions, Rambert and Karl Sydow.

Commissioned by Manchester International Festival, Brisbane Festival, Hong Kong New Vision Arts Festival, Sadler’s Wells, SMG Live, Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmed Cultural Centre (JACC) and Karl Sydow

THE FOUNTAINHEAD & RE:CREATING EUROPE

Ivo van Hove brings his Internationaal Theater Amsterdam to the Lowry to perform his most controversial work.

Juliet Stevenson to feature in Re:creating Europe an evening of texts and speeches that have shaped the continent taking place on 12 July

One of the world’s most acclaimed directors, Ivo van Hove, will bring this gripping adaptation of Ayn Rand’s uncompromising 20th-century classic, a major inspiration for libertarian politicians on both sides of the Atlantic.

The Fountainhead is a portrait of Howard Roark, a brilliant young architect who rejects easy routes to commercial success in favour of innovation and independence. Van Hove describes the novel as “a war of ideas”, encompassing art and architecture, commerce and capitalism, coupled with a passionate hymn to individualism and a dark, violent love story.

Published in 1943, Ayn Rand’s 700-page canonical novel has a long-established cult following. Donald Trump referenced ‘The Fountainhead’ as one of the only books he ever liked whilst Sajid Javid claims to read certain passages twice a year. Ivo van Hove first adapted and staged the novel in 2014 Internationaal Theater Amsterdam (ITA) and it received its American premiere at Brooklyn Academy of Music last year.

On 12 July, ITA and De Balie, a leading venue for cutting-edge debates and art projects in the Netherlands, present Re:Creating Europe, an exploration of Europe through the literature that has defined its history. Featuring Juliet Stevenson and directed by Ivo van Hove, the performance forces you to reflect on what Europe is, and what it could be. In a year when a deeply divided Britain is set to leave the European Union, this production uses the words of artists, thinkers and political leaders – from Shakespeare to Goethe, Churchill to Obama – to evoke the very notion of Europe, forcing us to reflect on what it is, what it was and what it could become, performed here by members of his Internationaal Theater Amsterdam ensemble with further guest performers to be announced.

Creative Team for The Fountainhead

Ivo van Hove                                          Director
Janni Goslinga                                       Performers
Aus Greidanus jr.
Maarten Heijmans
Hans Kesting
Hugo Koolschijn
Ramsey Nasr
Frieda Pittoors
Halina Reijn
Bart Slegers
Jan van Rheenen, Erica van Rijsewijk    Translators
Koen Tachelet                                          Adaptor
Peter van Kraaij                                       Dramaturg
Jan Versweyveld                                     Scenography & Lighting Designer
Eric Sleichim                                           Composer
An D’Huys                                               Costume Designer
Tal Yarden                                               Video Designer
Bl!ndman (drums): Yves Goemaere        Musicians
Hannes Nieuwlaet
Christiaan Saris

Emmerique Grandpré Moliere                Private Producer

Presented as a pre-Factory event, The Fountainhead receives its UK premiere at MIF19.

Re:Creating Europe is produced by Manchester International Festival, De Balie and Internationaal Theater Amsterdam.

MAGGIE THE CAT

The acclaimed American choreographer Trajal Harrell comes to Manchester International Festival (MIF19) for the world premiere of Maggie the Cat, a new dance work inspired by one of Tennessee Williams’ most well-known characters, from the classic play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

Focused on the inhabitants of a house, including Big Mama played by Harrell, Maggie the Cat is a provocative fusion of high art and pop culture, with multiple influences, ranging from ancient Greek theatre to the Harlem voguing underground, and a soundtrack that crosses genres, from electro and pop to classical music.

Directed and choreographed by Harrell, Maggie the Cat is the first part of a trilogy inspired by women who had to navigate treacherous waters to gain or retain their power. It addresses power, gender, rejection and inclusion through the prism of one of modern theatre’s most celebrated characters and asks questions about how we can represent powerful women without tearing them down to make room for powerful men.

Produced by MIF and presented at Manchester’s Dancehouse, the audience will be taken on a journey that, whilst tragic and thought-provoking, will also be entertaining and joyous.

Creative Team

Trajal Harrell                               Direction, Choreography, Costume Design & Sound Design
Erik Flatmo & Trajal Harrell        Set Design
Stéfane Perraud                         Lighting Design
Katinka Deecke                          Dramaturgy

Produced by Manchester International Festival, Maggie the Cat forms one part of a trilogy, Porca Miseria, commissioned by Manchester International Festival, Schauspielhaus Zürich, ONASSIS STEGI, Kampnagel (Hamburg), Holland Festival, the Barbican and Dance Umbrella, NYU Skirball, Berliner Festspiele and The Arts Centre at NYU Abu Dhabi.

THE NICO PROJECT

Survivor. Muse. Creator. Destroyer. From her 1967 debut with The Velvet Underground to her premature death just two decades later, Nico was one of pop culture’s most enigmatic figures. Now, long time admirers Maxine Peake (performer) and Sarah Frankcom (director) are conjuring the visionary artist up from the shadows with a stirring theatrical immersion into her sound, her identity and the world in which she fought to be heard.

The Nico Project is inspired by the icon’s stark, bleak and beautiful 1968 album The Marble Index. Ignored on its original release, the album is now rightly regarded as one of the defining masterpieces of 1960s counterculture. With text by award-winning playwright EV Crowe and music by acclaimed composer Anna Clyne, The Nico Project brings us closer to the ghosts that haunted Nico and the devastating past that shaped her, and celebrates the potency of female creativity in a field dominated by men.

The piece marks a lesser known Manchester music scene story. Nico moved to the city in 1982, having performed a gig there. Finding herself with nowhere to go afterwards she was found a room by a promoter and subsequently made Manchester her home and the base from which she toured Europe and played the live music circuit in the North until her death at the age of 48 in 1988.

Creative Team

Co-created by Maxine Peake and Sarah Frankcom
Anna Clyne                    Music
EV Crowe                      Text
Imogen Knight               Movement
Lizzie Clachan               Design
Paule Constable            Lighting Design
Helen Atkinson              Sound Design
With musicians from the Royal Northern College of Music

Commissioned and produced by Manchester International Festival and the Royal Court Theatre.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH

Created with an international team of leading performers, Claire Cunningham’s new dance work troubles notions of being told who or what we should be and explores the idea of self-tribute.

‘There are impersonators or tribute artists of every colour, sex, size, culture, age… What am I missing?’ Patty Carroll, Living the Life’: The World of Elvis Tribute Artists

Down at the end of Lonely Street – or Smedley Lane, as they call it in North Manchester – choreographer Claire Cunningham and her ensemble of leading disabled performers will invite audiences to join them for a drink at a Cheetham Hill social club as they pull back the curtain on the glittering world of the Elvis tribute artist.

Fresh from a crash course in Elvis-ing and intimate conversations with a range of tribute artists, Thank You Very Much takes to the floor in witty and revealing fashion. The company will pull on their rhinestone-studded jumpsuits to ask: are we caught in a trap? Who have we been trying to be all our lives? Has it ever been our choice? And is anyone ever truly incomparable?

Creative Team

Claire Cunningham                     Concept & Choreography
Dan Watson                                Associate Director
Bethany Wells                             Designer
Chris Copland                             Lighting Designer
Matthias Herrmann                     Sound Designer & Composer
Shanti Freed                               Costume Designer
Luke Pell                                     Dramaturg

Commissioned by Manchester International FestivalNational Theatre of Scotland and Perth Festival in association with tanzhaus nrw and Dance Umbrella. Produced by Manchester International Festival and National Theatre of Scotland.

TAO OF GLASS

Part-concert, part-performance Tao of Glass presents ten new pieces of music exploring life, loss and inspiration.

Created in the round for the Royal Exchange Theatre.

Following their acclaimed opera productions across the globe, world renowned composer PhiIip Glass and Obie and Olivier-Award winning performer-director Phelim McDermott reunite to create Tao of Glass with an ensemble of musicians and puppeteers.

Commissioned by MIF and Improbable, Tao of Glass is scored with ten pieces of Glass’ mesmerising music, all in response to provocations on life, death and wisdom, shot with Improbable’s trademark theatricality. In a rare opportunity to experience the legendary American composer in a setting completely contrasting to his signature larger scale productions, this world premiere will give audiences a rare chance to experience the personal and experimental process shared by these two collaborators.

Using a series of fragments from their own lives as artistic provocations, the artists – who have previously worked together on Akhnaten, Satyagraha and The Perfect American – have embarked on a playful creative journey, investigating ‘big questions’ in an intimate conversation with music, poetry and puppetry. Weaving evocative visual vocabulary, memoir and personal obsessions, the chamber-scale piece is reminiscent of Glass’ early experimental work.

An exploration of life, loss and a single question: Where does true inspiration come from? Tao of Glass is a storytelling tapestry.

Creative Team

Philip Glass                     Composer
Phelim McDermott           Writer, Performer & Co-Director
Kirsty Housley                 Co-Director
Fly Davis                         Designer
Colin Grenfell                  Lighting Designer
Giles Thomas                 Sound Designer
Ragnar Freidank            Documentary Maker & Collaborator

Commissioned by Manchester International Festival, Improbable, Perth Festival and Ruhrfestspiele Recklinghausen.

Produced by Manchester International Festival, Improbable and the Royal Exchange Theatre.

UTOPOLIS MANCHESTER – Rimini Protokoll
Can a group of disparate individuals come together to create a utopian state? And how big can this system become before it falls apart?

Author-directors Helgard Haug, Stefan Kaegi and Daniel Wetzel, have been developing complex immersive formats for interacting audiences under the Berlin-based collective label Rimini Protokoll since 2002. Utopolis Manchester is a visionary new work that transforms people’s view of the city as they discover the people and places that create Manchester’s daily life.

Gathering in dozens of small groups, in many different locations, audiences will head out to explore the city and its citizens and discover the many different ways in which people in the city create society, communities, and democracy.

Created by Rimini Protokoll and inspired by Thomas More’s Utopia, Utopolis Manchester asks whether another society might exist, if only for a utopian moment.

Utopolis Manchester is commissioned by Manchester International Festival and Schauspiel Köln.

A DRUNK PANDEMIC – Chim↑Pom 
The Manchester cholera epidemic of the 1830s is the unlikely inspiration for the first major UK project by one of the world’s most playful and provocative art collectives, Tokyo’s ChimPom – invited to MIF19 by Contact Young Curators, five emerging local artists brought together by MIF and Contact.

Cholera swept through Manchester almost 200 years ago. Tens of thousands of people were buried in cholera pits in the streets around modern-day Victoria Station and Angel Meadow – and thousands of others only survived because they drank beer instead of water. Chim↑Pom’s A Drunk Pandemic takes place in a temporary brewery, built for the purpose in a secret city-centre location. Audiences are invited to tour the brewery, try the beer, check out the special events – and expect the unexpected.

A Drunk Pandemic is commissioned and produced by Manchester International Festival and Contact Theatre.

THE ANVIL: AN ELEGY FOR PETERLOO 

On 16 August 1819, more than 60,000 people flooded into St Peter’s Field from all over Manchester. They came in peace, united in their passion for the right to vote, but as the speeches began, armed troops on horseback charged into the crowd, killing 15 and injuring more than 600. The Peterloo Massacre was a pivotal moment in British history, a landmark on our road to democracy.

MIF is marking its 200th anniversary with an extraordinary day of performance, poetry and music as part of a two-part commission. ANU, one of Europe’s most daring theatre companies, are taking to the streets for a day-long series of immersive performances, all completely free. Inspired by the lives and stories of those who died at Peterloo, the company are collaborating with people from all over Greater Manchester to explore what Peterloo meant then and what it means today – reflecting on the events of 1819 while forging a vital new connection with our 21st-century city.

The evening sees the world premiere of a major new piece of music, by composer Emily Howard, one of our most original musical voices, and poet Michael Symmons Roberts, winner of the Costa Poetry Award.  Both an elegy to the fallen and a celebration of our city, the work will be performed at The Bridgewater Hall by the BBC Philharmonic and a massed chorus featuring the BBC Singers and three Hallé choirs – with all tickets priced at just £10.

Commissioned by Manchester International Festival.

LISTINGS

Tree
Idris Elba & Kwame Kwei-Armah
Upper Campfield Market Hall, Campfield Avenue Arcade, M3 4FN
Thursday 4 July – Saturday 13 July, 8pm
Saturday 6, Sunday 7 & Saturday 13 July, also 4pm
Previews Saturday 29 June – Wed 3 July, 8pm

Tickets £35 / £30 previews & concessions /
£10 for Greater Manchester residents on a lower wage
Recommended 14+ / under-18s must be accompanied by an adult
mif.co.uk / +44 (0)333 320 2890

Invisible Cities
Mayfield, Baring Street, M1 2PZ
Friday 5 July – Sat 13 July, 8pm
Saturday 13 & Sunday 14 July, also 2.30pm
Previews Tuesday 2 – Thursday 4 July, 8pm
BSL performance: Thursday 11 July
Captioned performances: Wednesday 10 & Sunday 14 July
Tickets £35 / £30 previews & concessions /
£10 Greater Manchester residents on a lower wage
mif.co.uk / +44 (0)333 320 2890

The Fountainhead
The Lowry
Pier 8, The Quays, Salford M50 3AZ
Wednesday 10 & Thursday 11 July, 6.30pm
Saturday 13 July, 2pm
Tickets £18–£35 / £13-£30 concessions /
£10 for Greater Manchester residents on a lower wage
Presented in Dutch with English surtitles
mif.co.uk / +44 (0)333 320 2890

Re:Creating Europe
The Lowry
Pier 8, The Quays, Salford M50 3AZ
Friday 12 July, 8pm
Tickets £18–£35 / £13–£30 concessions /
£10 Greater Manchester residents on a lower wage
mif.co.uk / +44 (0)333 320 2890

Maggie the Cat
Trajal Harrell
The Dancehouse, 10 Oxford Road, M1 5QA
Thursday 11 July, 7.30pm
Friday 12 & Saturday 13 July, 7.30pm & 10pm
Sunday 14 July, 6pm
Tickets £20 / £15 concessions / £10 Greater Manchester residents on a lower wage
mif.co.uk / +44 (0)333 320 2890

The Nico Project
Maxine Peake & Sarah Frankcom
The Stoller Hall, Chetham’s School of Music, Hunts Bank, M3 1DA
Friday 12, Saturday 13, Tuesday 16, Thursday 18 & Saturday 20, 7.30pm
Saturday 13 & Saturday 20 July, also 3pm
Wednesday 17 & Friday 19 July, 6pm & 9pm
Previews Wednesday 10 July & Thursday 11 July, 7.30pm
Press night: Friday 12 July, 7.30pm
BSL performance: Tuesday 16 July, 7.30pm
AD performance: Wednesday 17 July, 6pm
Tickets £35 / £30 concessions / £10 Greater Manchester residents on a lower wage
mif.co.uk / +44 (0)333 320 2890

Thank You Very Much
Claire Cunningham
Ukrainian Cultural Centre, 31 Smedley Lane, M8 8XB
Wed 17 – Sat 20 July, 7.30pm
Press night: Wed 17 July
Tickets £20 / £15 concessions / £10 Greater Manchester residents on a lower wage
mif.co.uk / +44 (0)333 320 2890

Tao of Glass
Philip Glass & Phelim McDermott
Royal Exchange Theatre, St Ann’s Square, M2 7DH
Thursday 11 – Saturday 20 July, 7.30pm
13, 18 & 20 July, 2.30pm
Tickets £18–£41 / £13–£30 concessions / £13–£33 previews
£10 Greater Manchester residents on a lower wage
mif.co.uk / +44 (0)333 320 2890

Utopolis Manchester
Rimini Protokoll
Multiple locations, Manchester city centre
Wednesday 10 – Saturday 13 July, 6–10.30pm
Tickets £20 / £15 concessions / £10 for Greater Manchester residents on a lower wage
Recommended 12+ / under-16s must be accompanied by an adult
mif.co.uk / +44 (0)333 320 2890

A Drunk Pandemic
Chim↑Pom & Contact Young Curators
Friday 5 – Sunday 21 July
A secret location
Times and ticket information to be announced
Age 18+
mif.co.uk

The Anvil: An Elegy for Peterloo
Emily Howard, Michael Symmons Roberts, BBC Philharmonic
The Bridgewater Hall, Lower Mosley Street, M2 3WS
Sunday 7 July, 6pm
Tickets £10
mif.co.uk / +44 (0) 333 320 2890

 

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