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  • Writer's pictureMolly O'Donoghue

MIF: TwentyOne

Updated: Jan 12, 2023

It's such a treat when Manchester International Festival roles around every 2 years. I love experiencing the new art, experimental exhibitions and seeing the city come alive for two whole weeks!

Me and my flatmate Dom kicked off the opening MIF with Sea Change. A very immersive experience with 150 dancers taking part, all from the local area. It was truly a sight to behold, I loved how they took control of the space and transformed Deansgate into a moving, living stage.

On Saturday I treated my friend Efia for her birthday to All of this Unreal Time featuring Cillian Murphy. It was lovely to see the Gmex back to its original set-up after being a temporary hospital up until March this year. The use of lights to guide you into the middle of the huge space was eerie and slightly overwhelming. The performance of Murphy and the writing by Max Porter flowed together as you walked through the last few months of lockdown with them, conjuring very relatable feelings. This film was also directed by Aoife McArdle, a plus to see a females work taking centre stage in this year's calendar of events.

Big Ben Lying Down With Political Books was another free art piece that took over Piccadilly Gardens. Covered in 20,000 books it was a huge presence amongst the fountains and the public on their way to work. I loved its quirkiness and meaning at this time of political confusion and covid.

Finally, as a big Lemn Sissay fan, I had to pop over to Home to see Poet Slash Artist. A great collage of visual art mixed with thought-provoking words - which luckily will be staying in town till the 30th of August!

This year was very exciting as festival square moved to Cathedral gardens, creating a very Glastonbury-Esque events area. I think a few will agree that it was possibly a better location than its previous home outside the Townhall. I spent a nice evening there with a glass of wine and my cousin James for company. We watched some live DJs and the general buzz of people passing by, what a fantastic couple of weeks!

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