Notes on Grief

5 - 17 Jul 2021

Exchange Auditorium, Manchester Central

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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s powerful reflection on family, love and loss journeyed from page to stage in Rae Mcken’s MIF21 production

I last saw my father in person on March 5th, just before the coronavirus changed the world.

On Wednesday 10 June 2020, the scholar James Nwoye Adichie died in Nigeria. Three months later, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the acclaimed author of Half a Yellow Sun and Americanah, published a beautiful tribute to the father she loved ‘so much, so fiercely, so tenderly’, a poignant meditation on the meaning, impact and nature of grief, in the New Yorker. Out of that essay grew a book, which was published in May 2021.

Director Rae Mcken took Adichie’s words and transferred them to the stage in this new production at Manchester Central: a space for those who have experienced loss to gather and reflect, and a powerful and timely MIF21 world premiere.

Notes on…

Notes On… were two new artworks inspired by Notes on Grief and informed by the contributions of 50 Manchester residents. Made up of positive affirmations designed to uplift, console and unite those who have experienced loss and grief during the pandemic, the installations were installed in Festival Square and in the foyer at Manchester Central throughout MIF21 – and you can still hear the Notes On… soundscape below:


Uche Abuah, Michelle Asante, Itoya Osagiede

Rae Mcken Director
Rosa Maggiora Set & Costume Designer
Simeon Miller Lighting Designer & Projections
Ed Lewis Composer & Sound Designer
Yami Löfvenberg Movement Director
Mary Howland Dialect Coach

Ali Fowler Production Manager
Catryn Fray Company Stage Manager
Nathan Babb Deputy Stage Manager
Holly O’Neill Costume Supervisor

Commissioned and produced by Manchester International Festival.

Main image: Manny Jefferson
Show images: Tristram Kenton

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