Saturday 17 March 2018

An opera for babies features in line-up at Manchester International Festival

The play Cotton Panic! by Jane Horrocks will tell the story of a
The play Cotton Panic! by Jane Horrocks will tell the story of a "pivotal moment in North West history" - the Cotton famine

A new musical starring Jane Horrocks, performances by New Order and the installation of a statute of Friedrich Engels are among the highlights of Manchester International Festival.

The summer event also includes an opera for babies, exhibitions on the legacy left by Joy Division and New Order and several pieces on migration to Manchester.

Horrock's play, Cotton Panic!, will tell the story of a "pivotal" moment in North West history - the Cotton famine, when the supply of raw cotton dried up and the prosperous North was brought to its knees" in 1861.

The Little Voice actress co-created the play, which will feature live music, drama, words and film.

The festival opens with What Is The City But The People?, a large-scale public event, from an idea by artist Jeremy Deller.

It will "see a unique selection of individuals from across Manchester, recruited via open auditions, walk along a runway through Piccadilly Gardens" in front of an audience.

A show at the Whitworth Art Gallery, ToGather, will explore stories of migrants to Manchester, including a public performance developed with Company Wayne McGregor and around 20 people who have recently arrived in the city.

The Welcoming Party, a new work for children and families, will use puppetry and theatre to tell the stories of young people who have travelled to Manchester, while y ounger audiences can enjoy BambinO, an opera for babies aged six to 18 months.

A multimedia work, Last And First Men, will combine music, film and actress Tilda Swinton's narration.

A live installation in an empty city centre shop "will bring to life" the stories of the city's homeless in Manchester Street Poem, co-created by Underworld's Karl Hyde and Rick Smith.

Six new pieces of music will be created in response to a specific spot, from shopping centres to train stations.

The event will come to a close with Ceremony, a live film event celebrating one of Manchester's best-known former residents, Friedrich Engels, who founded Marxist theory with Karl Marx.

Artist Phil Collins "will bring Engels back to Manchester in the form of a Soviet-era statue" collected from Russia and transported across Europe, to be installed in the city.

Performers and musicians will help create a film, mixing footage from the statue's journey across Europe.

Manchester music legends New Order will collaborate with visual artist Liam Gillick for five shows.

New artistic director John McGrath said names in the festival had been drawn from the US, Egypt, Austria, China, France, Pakistan, Germany and Iceland.

"Only a festival of new work could speak so compellingly to the current state of the world. Everything has changed in the last 12 months, and our artists are responding in real time," he said.

"This is where the festival's commitment to commissioning new ideas from artists comes in to its own: many of these pieces are being made right now, and will continue to evolve in response to the events happening around us."

:: Manchester International Festival runs from June 29 to July 16 this year.

Press Association

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