Manchester, a breeding ground for culture, has hosted the Manchester International Festival for over 14 years. This year was no exception with the MIF21 team working tirelessly to make this truly a ‘festival like no other’.
The festival aimed to provide a ‘unique snapshot of these unprecedented times’ whilst giving artists the much-needed platform to explore themes ‘including the nature of love and human connection, the way we play, global and local divisions and connections, and the relationship between the urban and the rural.’
As well as exploring those themes, MIF21 highlighted the important role that culture and art play within society, especially considering the government’s lacklustre attempts at supporting the arts. MIF21 stood as a celebration promoting unity instead of discord.
The 3 million people that reported having experienced this festival are a reflection of the public’s need for art, culture and music outside of the pandemic. More than half of this year’s MIF programme was free, with a range of public artworks by internationally acclaimed artists at prominent locations and in neighbourhoods across Manchester.
The events included a landmark sculpture in Piccadilly Gardens, an installation of Black British portraits in Manchester Arndale, a classical music concerto and Christine Sun Kim’s captions across 36 sites and buildings.
Voice joined 1.2 million people experiencing the Festival's wide-ranging online offer that included All of This Unreal Time starring Cillian Murphy, as well as other specially created films by artists such as Akram Khan’s Breathless Puppets, Lucinda Childs and Ibrahim Mahama.
John McGrath, Artistic Director and Chief Executive of MIF said: “MIF21 was certainly one of the most challenging things we have ever taken on as an organisation - collaborating with artists all across the world, most of whom couldn’t travel, ensuring Covid safety for audiences and teams, and planning everything amidst a global emergency - but the results have made it all very worthwhile.”