About MIF23

MIF23 saw our wonderful new building Aviva Studios come alive ahead of its official opening in Autumn 2023. 18 extraordinary days of culture gave visitors an exciting taste of things to come.

The festival got off to a calming start at Mayfield Park with Risham Syed’s Each Tiny Drop, a celebration of South Asian river rituals in the heart of the city. Ryan Gander: The Find and We Cut Through Dust invited visitors to explore the streets of Manchester in different ways, while Yayoi Kusama’s largest ever immersive environment You, Me and the Balloons showcased the soaring spaces of our new home.

On stage, The Faggots and Their Friends Between Revolutions and untitled f*ck m*ss s**gon play challenged tired and familiar stories with their stunning artistry and cutting wit. Elsewhere, Find Your Eyes, Benji Reid’s beautiful ode to the creative journey, All Right. Good Night., Rimini Protokoll’s mesmeric look at loss, and the stirring They from Maxine Peake, Sarah Frankcom and Imogen Knight, all pushed the boundaries of traditional theatre and performance.

A profound intimacy rippled through KAGAMI – a beautiful mixed reality concert from the late Ryuichi Sakamoto and Tin Drum. Equally intimate was R.O.S.E. which saw dancers choreographed by Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar weave through the crowds to a live soundtrack by DJ Ben UFO.

From Angélique Kidjo and Alison Goldfrapp to The Comet Is Coming and Afrodeutsche, our music programme welcomed thousands of people into the Hall. John Grant and Richard Hawley and his Band performed a sumptuous tribute to Patsy Cline, Sanam Marvi graced us with an enthralling performance, and Justin Vivian Bond put on a night of pitch perfect cabaret. At Bridgewater Hall, Sonic Geography included a world premieres of new compositions by John Luther Adams, Ailís Ní Ríain and Alissa Firsova. At Mayfield Depot, powerhouse composer Anna Meredith performed FIBS with the Royal Northern College of Music Festival Orchestra, and 180 schoolchildren joined a production of Benjamin Britten’s opera Noah’s Flood.

Over at the Whitworth, Economics the Blockbuster made us question our current economic systems. The Balmy Army brought a movement for youth-led mental health to the streets of Manchester, as well as taking over a space at HOME. Both exhibitions run through into Autumn 2023.

Our friends at Islington Mill envisioned the future in Modelling Queer Utopias; SEEN Magazine took over Manchester Museum for Sonic, Stories and Scenes of the Diaspora, while Contact Theatre staged a creative lock-in for International Non-Binary People's Day at 50 Hours of Freedom.

Finally, This entry, a playful performance piece from Tino Sehgal with input from footballer Juan Mata, marked the start of a two year project The Trequartista – Art and Football United, which will continue at MIF25. You know what they say, every ending is a new beginning.

MIF23 Highlights

MIF23 Online

MIF23 Live

MIF Daily

Look back at our daily round up of what to read, watch, listen to and do at MIF23.

  • MIF Daily – Sunday 16 July

    We look back on the highlights of the Festival – plus endless fun at Aviva Studios this summer

  • MIF Daily – Saturday 15 July

    Get your wildest outfit ready for the Kusama Fashion Show before a night of discovery with Desi Factory

  • MIF Daily – Friday 14 July

    It’s all happening on Festival Square as we enter the final weekend – plus Alison Goldfrapp returns to MIF with her electrifying solo project

  • MIF Daily – Thursday 13 July

    Go behind the scenes of Benji Reid’s surreal show Find Your Eyes – then dance to club culture icon Ben UFO at R.O.S.E

  • MIF Daily – Wednesday 12 July

    Pretend it’s the weekend with a Festival Square takeover from Homecoming – plus the next episode of Dream Space with Scottee

  • MIF Daily – Tuesday 11 July

    Our first country gig brings John Grant and Richard Hawley together in tribute to Patsy Cline – plus in the studio with Blast Theory

  • MIF Daily – Sunday 9 July

    Wipe away the Sunday blues with community opera Noah’s Flood and a YES takeover on Festival Square featuring The Orielles

  • MIF Daily – Saturday 8 July

    Enjoy a mega Saturday of music with concerts from Anna Meredith and Sanam Marvi – plus creative life lessons from Yayoi Kusama

  • MIF Daily – Friday 7 July

    Get lost in All Right. Good Night. and the mystery of missing flight MH370 – plus a look ahead to Anna Meredith's show at Depot Mayfield

  • MIF Daily – Thursday 6 July

    We’re celebrating trans creatives tonight with cabaret icon Justin Vivian Bond and a Festival Square takeover – plus a spotlight on They

  • MIF Daily – Wednesday 5 July

    Get over the mid-week blues with Afrodeutsche – plus a look ahead to a world premiere by John Luther Adams

  • MIF DAILY – Tuesday 4 July

    Explore the fascinating life and work of Yayoi Kusama – then celebrate the opening of our giant gig space with Angélique Kidjo

  • MIF Daily – Sunday 2 July

    Enjoy a lazy Sunday exploring Manchester’s Northern Quarter and head behind the scenes of Kimber Lee’s award-winning untitled f*ck m*ss s**gon play

  • MIF DAILY – Saturday 1 July

    Get lost in the musical legacy of Ryuichi Sakamoto – then party on Festival Square with Nakhane and Homoelectric

  • MIF Daily – Friday 30 June

    A showstopper start to the first weekend as Festival Square gets under way – plus a spotlight on The Faggots and Their Friends Between Revolutions

  • MIF Daily – Thursday 29 June

    Welcome to MIF23 – the Festival has finally landed and we’ve got buckets of unmissable content

International Residencies

Meet the artists

A group of international artists took up residency across the region for MIF23. The artists and collectives will work alongside communities in Manchester, Salford, Wigan and Rochdale to develop projects for the future. Get to know them here.

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