Star names such as Bjork, Damon Albarn and FKA twigs look to set to put the Manchester International Festival right at the top of the world calendar yet again…

The festival returns to the city for the fifth time this July, and will again offer an unrivalled schedule of original work and creations from across the arts sector. Since its inception, MIF has become internationally recognised, and is said to be the ‘most radical and important arts festival today’ by The New Yorker. The festival announced the first three commissions for the 2015 festival in November last year, ‘Tree of Codes’ -a new contemporary ballet choreographed by Wayne McGregor, with visual concepts by Berlin’s Olafur Eliasson. ‘The Tale of Me. Tumble’ -a new theatre show for children and families held at the Manchester Opera House from the 11th until the 19th of July. The third, ‘The Age of Starlight’ -a film about the origin of the universe, directed by Oscar winner, Kevin Macdonald. In January it was also revealed that a brand new musical inspired by Alice in Wonderland and scored by Damon would premier at the MIF.

The official festival launch took place today, and added even more events and performances to get culture-vultures tingling with anticipation. Amongst these were The Skriker, a supernatural play starring Maxine Peake, and a unique artist/composer collaboration between Gerhard Richter and Arvo Pärt. There will be a one-off performance from Bjork at the Castlefield Arena, and artist-of-the-moment FKA Twigs will be running a FREE demonstration of how she makes her eye-catching videos.

Manchester International Festival 2015 - full line-up announced I Love Manchester

But let us take a quick step back for a second. Some of you may be wondering what all the talk about this ‘MIF’ is… Let us fill you in! ‘MIF’, The Manchester International Festival takes place biannually in the month of July. The original promotion of the festival took place in 2005, with three pre-festival commissions including a performance by Gorillaz at the Manchester Opera House, The Schools Festival Song -an original piece by Ennio Morricone and Nicholas Royle which was sung by a school choir of 8000 and an art installation by Turner Prize-winning artist, Steve McQueen in tribute to British service personnel killed in the Iraq War.

The first full edition of the festival was held the summer of 07’ with three main events. The first, a showpiece production entitled ‘Monkey: Journey to the West’. The show featured an incredible 45 Chinese circus acrobats, Shaolin monks and Chinese vocalists. The 2007 MIF also featured two other events’; Il Tempo del Postino’, a visual arts show and a new stage adaptation of ‘The Pianist’.

More additions to this year’s lineup include a talk from Scientist Brian Cox and comedy from The Invisible Dot Ltd. The huge redevelopment of the Old Granada Studios means that eventually the MIF will have itself a home that easily rivals London as culture-capital of the UK, and the 2015 festival looks certain to be one of the year’s biggest showcases of creative talent.

There is so much more in the program not covered here.For the full line-up, head over to www.mif.co.uk/events and follow @MIFestival

Tickets go on sale March 6th at 1pm.

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