Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Dance, Drama and TV's Mr Tumble Join the Festival Line-Up ; Mr Tumble, the Age of Starlight and Tree of Codes Are the Three Shows Announced by MIF So Far - but Expect Huge Additions in the Next Few Weeks

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Dance, Drama and TV's Mr Tumble Join the Festival Line-Up ; Mr Tumble, the Age of Starlight and Tree of Codes Are the Three Shows Announced by MIF So Far - but Expect Huge Additions in the Next Few Weeks

Article excerpt

HEN Manchester WInternational Festival announced its intentions back in 2005 to stage a biennial season of original commissions that would make our city the ground-breaking host of the only artist-led festival of firsts, and shout its name globally restating its position as a cultural city to look up to, it seemed a hugely ambitious concept.

Almost a decade on from the trailblazer event that formally introduced MIF to us (Damon Albarn's Gorillaz at the Opera House), close to a million people have seen its productions here and a portfolio of shows have toured the world with the city's name all over them - everywhere from New York to Reykjavik, Moscow, Abu Dhabi, Athens, Singapore and Adelaide.

MIF has made Manchester a city to look up to in the creative arts, and after so many years of accusations that we're a place that only knows how to look backwards, it's a refreshing change of perspective.

I like to think that the festival says as much about Manchester's love for doing things differently as it does about our willingness to come together: from the venues that commit their spaces to the shows (sometimes to the extreme; who can forget the Whitworth Art Gallery removing its entire collection in 2009 to accommodate Marina Abramovic Presents?) to Manchester city council's ongoing financial support and the openminded audiences who take a punt on seeing shows that are unapologetically pushing the boundaries.

MIF is about letting the best in the business be pioneers - and so far festival five, MIF15, is set to follow this pattern.

Among the three announced shows, The Age Of Starlight is the most obvious innovator; the technology it uses to transport viewers back to the moment the universe began is still in development, and has the likes of Professor Brian Cox and inventor Rony Abovitz at the controls.

The Tale Of Mr Tumble - the character created by Justin Fletcher MBE - continues to prove MIF's desire to reach out to all ages, and includes a number of BSL signed performances. …

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