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“We take culture very seriously here” Manchester International Festival reveals star studded 2023 line-up

Factory International is set to unveil its flagship new building with a city-wide festival that promises to captivate art enthusiasts and music lovers alike.

The 2023 Manchester International Festival features an impressive lineup of artists, including Ryan Gander, Maxine Peake, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Tino Sehgal, and Juan Mata (yes, the footballer).

Music aficionados can look forward to performances by acclaimed artists such as Janelle Monáe, John Grant, and Angélique Kidjo.

The festival kicks off with a major exhibition of world-renowned Japanese Artist Yayoi Kusama’s breathtaking inflatables in the warehouse, titled, You, Me and the Balloons.

The exhibition will take over the vast warehouse space, inviting audiences to take an exhilarating journey through Kusama’s psychedelic creations.

MIF 2023 will showcase a diverse range of creative works that merge art and sport, challenge traditional norms, and push the boundaries of creativity.

Speaking to I Love Manchester, Artistic Director and Chief Executive, Factory International & Manchester International Festival John McGrath says: “From the radical and agenda setting to the purest of celebrations, MIF23’s programme covers a huge range of art forms and styles – from a ritual on the banks of a newly uncovered river to mixed reality from one of Japan’s greatest composers, from a hunt for artworks across the city to a residency from one of American music’s most vibrant superstars.

“A genuine melting pot of creativity where artists share their ideas with each other and the public, the Festival will once again take the temperature of our times, and imagine possibilities for the future.”

“As always MIF is rooted in its home – in the spaces and places of Greater Manchester.

“So at the same time as we take up residency in our flagship new venue with our centrepiece exhibition of Yayoi Kusama’s incredible inflatable sculptures, the Festival will extend its reach throughout the city: finding unexpected locations to show its work in, and working with local artists and residents to perform and take part. MIF23 will be a true celebration of the city and its cultural offerings.”

The Festival boasts an exciting collaboration between curator Hans Ulrich Obrist and footballer Juan Mata, featuring new work by Tino Sehgal, and a mixed-reality concert by renowned Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto.

Additionally, audiences can look forward to a live photographic performance by Benji Reid and a musical adaptation of a cult queer classic by Philip Venables and Ted Huffman.

With this expansive program of new works premiering at the Festival, expect a melting pot of artistic expression that breaks new ground and challenges perceptions.

Manchester’s much-loved Festival Square relocates to the building’s outdoor spaces with free live music from over 100 performers, and a wide variety of food and drink, creating a new riverside destination for Manchester.

The Manchester International Festival (MIF) is set to bring a diverse range of events to the city, showcasing a mix of art, music, and performance that celebrates Manchester’s roots while pushing creative boundaries.

The festival will feature a city-wide quest for collectable coin artworks by Ryan Gander, a celebration of our connection to water on the banks of the River Medlock by Risham Syed and Angie Bual, and a chilling adaptation of a lost dystopian masterpiece in the depths of the John Rylands library by Maxine Peake, Sarah Frankcom, and Imogen Knight.

In addition to these unique experiences, the festival will showcase a diverse programme of music headlined by a three-day residency from Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Janelle Monáe, with performances from Angélique Kidjo, Alison Goldfrapp, and revered Sufi singer Sanam Marvi.

Speaking to I Love Manchester at the announcement at New Century Hall today, Councillor Luthfur Rahman OBE, Deputy Leader Manchester City Council, said: “We take culture very seriously here in Manchester. It plays a big part in our global reputation and economic success, making Manchester a city that people and businesses the world over want to visit, work, live, and invest in. The Festival is a real celebration of that – showcasing the fantastic venues and spaces around the city, drawing national and global audiences, and creating opportunities for local people to get involved, through jobs, volunteering and the chance to perform and participate in shows.

“Being able to invite audiences to experience our brand-new building for the first time as part of this year’s brilliant Manchester International Festival, as well as a programme of events right across the city, is very exciting and should not be missed. This new chapter takes our cultural ambitions to the next level and then some. Putting a world-class building on our doorstep that brings with it a wealth of jobs, training, and opportunities that further cement our place as an international centre and incubator for culture, creativity and innovation.

“The eyes of the world are once again on Manchester, the festival, and this new space – and they will not be disappointed.”

Other highlights include the premiere of a new show from John Grant and the Richard Hawley band celebrating pop and country legend Patsy Cline, a world premiere by John Luther Adams inspired by arctic landscapes performed by the BBC Philharmonic, and a night of dance and music from dance company L-E-V curated by record label Young.

Expanding on its digital presence, MIF23 will offer a broad range of online experiences, including live streams and behind-the-scenes broadcasts, the world premiere of a new film by artist and director Jenn Nkiru, and a program of talks from Guardian Live that will take place in person and online.

With such a diverse and exciting lineup, the Manchester International Festival promises to be a truly unique celebration of creativity and innovation.

Tickets for MIF23 are on sale to Factory International members from 28 March and on general sale on 30 March.

You can get them by clicking here.

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