About the Festival

What do Laurie Anderson, Damon Albarn, Akram Khan, Björk, David Lynch, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, Skepta, Durutti Column, Janelle Monáe, Abida Parveen, Maxine Peake, the XX, Jane Horrocks, Elbow, Carlos Acosta, New Order, Johnny Vegas and Kraftwerk all have in common?

Three letters – MIF.

Manchester International Festival has invited some of the greatest artists on the planet to delight and often challenge crowds in spaces of all shapes and sizes – from car parks to concert halls. They have crossed boundaries, leapt over them, broken through them.

The next edition of MIF takes place from 29 June to 16 July 2023. Find out more about MIF23 here.

  • One of the leading worldwide incubators for new, cutting-edge art. Though the festival has an international outlook and reputation, it also showcases Manchester stories and talent.

    New York Times

  • If there’s a signature thread that ties together the eclectic works that have appeared at the Manchester International Festival, it’s a desire to push at creative boundaries.

    Creative Review

  • MIF has pursued a bold and risky policy of presenting almost entirely new work. What’s more, it’s new work that has stretched the comfort zones of the creative artists and performers taking part.

    The Times


The festival started in 2007 and runs every two years. Our programmes are unrivalled in size and scale with world-firsts commissioned and produced right here in Manchester – many of them radical and unpredictable.

We like to raise a few eyebrows. Gorillaz collaborating with theatre director Chen Shi-Zheng? Choreographer Boris Charmatz crowdsourcing human waves of movement on Deansgate? Massive Attack clashing with Adam Curtis?

How about Marina Abramović and Robert Wilson presenting an extraordinary retelling of the artist’s life featuring Willem Defoe? Idris Elba and Kwame Kwei-Armah taking us on a dramatic odyssey to contemporary South Africa? Or Maxine Peake and Sarah Frankcom re-imagining the life of Nico? At MIF, anything is possible...

Rooted in Manchester

  • A boy in a green t-shirt with his back to the camera flies a kite in a park. The sky is blue with some clouds and in the background other people are looking up at the kite.

    Photo by Chris Payne

    Showcasing homegrown talent is a big part of what we do. There’s an extra sense of pride when it’s made by Manchester. Residents from all corners of the region taking part, sharing their energy and ideas as participants, creative fellows, artists, volunteers and co-curators.

    Over the past few years the people of Manchester have helped create major artworks, hosted their own festivals and co-curated an extraordinary range of events for MIF/Factory International.

    Local residents also inform our approach to access, transportation and a whole lot more through our public forums, helping point Factory International in the right direction and making sure we take on as wide range of perspectives as possible.

    Learn More

Working internationally

  • Atmospheric Memory by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer at MIF19 Copyright Mariana Yåñez

    MIF not only brings the best to our city, it also sends exceptional arts and culture from the North to the rest of the world with the help of our partners.

    Many of our Manchester-made projects have travelled to more than 30 countries, attracting a total audience of 1.4 million people … and rising.

    Factory International is now our permanent home, a very flexible canvas for artists here and abroad to realise their ideas in unexpected ways. But MIF is still going to pop up all over the city every other year.

    Learn More

Our year-round home at Factory International frees us up to try new experiments and possibilities for the festival. Maybe we will spread further beyond the city centre. Or maybe artists will stay here for much longer, making work over many months. Or perhaps local communities will invite artists of their choosing. Things will change but excitement and originality will always be at the heart of MIF.

John McGrath, Artistic Director & Chief Executive of Factory International

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